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Change is coming to Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The show’s longtime executive producer Jill Leiderman is stepping down, with veteran producer Sharon Hoffman set to succeed her. Though a shake-up has been in the works for the better part of a year, change doesn’t come easily to Kimmel or his ABC show. Unlike The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which has gone through a series of showrunners in recent years, Kimmel’s nightly entry has been run by Leiderman for the past 14 years. Her successor brings to the show a background more firmly rooted in news, which was said to be desirable as late night — and Kimmel, in particular — becomes increasingly political.
Once best known as the former host of The Man Show, Kimmel has successfully used his late night platform to push causes that he’s passionate about in recent years. 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. The tonal shift, which has thrust Kimmel into Twitter feuds as recently as last week with President Donald Trump, has only made the host more relevant. Rival Stephen Colbert regularly upstages Jimmy Fallon in viewership for the same reason.
In her new position, Hoffman will share an executive producer title with Kimmel, as Leiderman did. Most recently, Hoffman served as the executive producer for Entertainment Tonight, and before that as an EP of the weekend edition of CBS Evening News. Prior to that, she served as part of the team that relaunched CBS This Morning, under Late Show With Stephen Colbert showrunner Chris Licht, and as a producer at Good Morning America. In that time, Hoffman has moved fluidly between news and entertainment, as late night does, gaining experience in live, video and digital production along the way.
Leiderman, who came from a late night background having done stints with Jon Stewart and David Letterman, has been a key piece of a tight-knit family at JKL, which also regularly works on offshoots and specials including the Oscars. While Leiderman is leaving late night after a quarter century, Kimmel announced at this time last year that he’d be re-upping with ABC for three more years. The move keeps him at the show through 2022, and a landmark 20th season. At that time, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told The Hollywood Reporter that retaining Kimmel had been a “top priority.”
“For 25 years, I have devoted my career to late night, producing for three of the greats: Jon Stewart, David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy changed my life indelibly. I am tremendously proud of the stellar team we have built together over the past 14 years producing close to 2,500 original Jimmy Kimmel Live episodes and specials,” Leiderman said in a statement, adding: “A year ago, Jimmy and I began to plan this transition so I could pursue other opportunities on my creative wish list while spending more time with my husband and 4-year-old son. My professional partnership with Jimmy will only be outdone by our friendship.”
Kimmel was similarly effusive in his statement, noting: “I could not be more thankful for what Jill has done for our show and could not have asked for a better partner over the past 14 years. Her contributions to the growth of JKL are immeasurable, including finding her worthy successor Sharon Hoffman. We were very lucky to have Jill as long as we did and, while I am sad to see her go, I understand. I am sick of me, too.”
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