Jimmy Kimmel moves ahead
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 23:08
Late night television has become oversaturated in the past two decades. For 30 years- from 1962 to 1992- no one had ever successfully toppled the king of late night, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, from his perch as the most successful late night TV host. Beginning with David Letterman’s move to CBS in 1993 after Jay Leno was awarded “The Tonight Show,” nearly every other network has tried their hand at capturing a piece of the Late Night crowd. However not even Jay or Dave’s audiences of two to four million have come close to the dominance enjoyed by Johnny Carson. This is perhaps due to the oversaturation the market currently has.
ABC has decided to move “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from its current timeslot of 12:00/12:05 a.m. back to 11:30/11:35 p.m. this coming January marking the 10th anniversary of Kimmel’s show. This will push the long-running news program “Nightline” back one hour.
With this move, there will now be six different late night talk shows on partially or in full between the hour of 11 p.m. EST and 12:35 a.m. EST. These include “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, “Conan” on TBS, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC, “The Late Show” on CBS and “The Tonight Show” on NBC. This is not even counting “The Late Late Show” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” which are on CBS and NBC respectively at 12:35 EST. This brings the total to eight different late night talk shows that reach the airwaves.
Despite the over-saturation, the move might indeed prove a smart one for ABC. In the past year, between Letterman, Leno and Kimmel, Kimmel is the only late night host to have seen his ratings increase (3 percent) in the past year. In addition, as Leno and Letterman get older, so do their audiences. A poll broadcast on CBS’s “Entertainment Tonight,” shows that Kimmel’s viewers median age is 51, about five full years younger than either Leno or Letterman’s audience. And we all know how much advertisers like younger audiences.
Speaking of advertisers, “The Late Show” and “The Tonight Show” take in almost $400 million in advertising revenue annually, far and away more than “Nightline” does on ABC. Putting a late night talk show at 11:35 will enable ABC to collect a share of that pie.
The move is a no brainer for ABC. Jimmy Kimmel has deserved it as well. His brand of comedy has been under appreciated due to the crowded market but his may change things. Emmy viewers certainly have noticed the comic’s value, nominating “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for Outstanding Variety Series for the first time.
Only time will tell who the real winner will be in these renewed “Late Night Wars,” but Kimmel’s move proves that ABC isn’t afraid to take on the big players at night.