On Tuesday, January 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” is not only going to be back on television with new episodes following the Christmas holiday, but he is going to be doing so in a brand-new timeslot at 11:35 p.m. Eastern. that puts him in direction competition with David Letterman (his self-proclaimed personal idol) along with Jay Leno.
While he of course did not have anything negative at all to say about his new rival in Letterman during a conference call with reporters this week, Jimmy held absolutely nothing back (and we mean it) when talking about Leno, his performance on his show, and his eventual retirement from NBC leading to Jimmy Fallon someday taking over the reigns:
“Just when you think he’s dead, he comes back … The fact is that NBC is going to make a decision someday. As much as he would like it, Jay Leno can’t stay on television forever and Jimmy Fallon is the heir apparent.”
Kimmel also claimed that NBC’s recent announcement that Leno’s “The Tonight Show” would be moved to 11:34 was a sign that they are “concerned” about the competition that Kimmel brings, and that they are obviously hoping they can find a way to get audiences hooked on their show a little bit earlier than their competition on other networks. (Kimmel specifically used the word “trick,” which is probably how local NBC affiliates also feel now about losing a minute of their nightly news broadcasts.)
What do you think about Kimmel’s jabs at Jay here: are they mean-spirited in your mind, or completely truthful given how negatively Leno has been received in recent years? If you want to find out who Kimmel’s guests are going to be following his return to the air early next year, you can do so over here.