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Jimmy Kimmel is staying put.
Despite flirting publicly with the idea of moving on, the ABC late-night host has inked a deal to remain at his longtime home for three more years. The lucrative pact will keep him at ABC through the end of 2022; his current contract expires later this year. The deal will take Jimmy Kimmel Live! through its landmark 20th season.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this spring, newly minted ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke acknowledged that retaining Kimmel was a top priority for her and her team. At that time, she said the network was actively in conversation with the 51-year-old host and his camp about Kimmel’s remaining in the seat for a few more years, though a deal was far from closed at the time.
“We’ve made it clear that he is a critical member of the family and we want him on our air as long as he wants to be on it,” she said of a guy who’s become more than simply the face of ABC’s late-night brand. Kimmel has pulled double duty hosting well-received Oscar telecasts, including the year that will forever be remembered for envelope-gate, and Emmy ceremonies as well as appearing annually at the ABC upfront. During the latter, he roasts his own network along with its rivals in what’s traditionally the standout of a busy, often monotonous week.
In recent years, Kimmel has utilized his platform to push other causes that he is passionate about. After his son, Billy, was born with a rare congenital heart defect, for instance, he began using his nightly show as a stage to speak ardently about the need for universal health care coverage. He’s continued to expand his personal brand, too, with TV projects (including the live reimagining of All in the Family and The Jeffersons at ABC) as well as a comedy club in his hometown of Las Vegas and a new media company, Kimmelot, operated by Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.
In that same springtime interview, Burke noted that if and when Kimmel does decide to move on, he would “craft and lead the way on” whatever the next incarnation of the show would be. Presumably that would entail having say in whoever his successor would be and perhaps involvement in the show. Without revealing any details, Burke noted that Kimmel had already pitched a contingency plan over dinner.
The latest news comes at a time of relative stability in broadcast late night, which followed a period of considerable upheaval at competitors NBC and CBS. ABC, for its part, has long managed to avoid the kind of host swaps and drama that marred the others by having Kimmel in the chair since early 2003.
Stephen Colbert (CBS): 2020
Keep track of all the renewals, cancellations and new show orders with THR‘s scorecards for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW and with all the latest pilot pickups and passes with our handy guide. For complete coverage, bookmark THR.com/upfronts.
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