'Jimmy Kimmel Live' Moving to 11:35PM; 'Nightline' to Follow at 12:35AM

Categories: 1-Featured,ABC TV ratings,Late Night TV Ratings

Written By

August 21st, 2012


Update: ABC has issued a press release about the move.

via press release:




“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Moves to 11:35 p.m. on January 8 to Capitalize on

Ratings Momentum, Higher Ad Demand and Greater Revenue Upside


Audiences Can Begin and End Their Day with ABC News as “Nightline” Shifts to 12:35 a.m. on

January 9 and Adds a Primetime Hour Every Friday Night at 9:00 p.m., Beginning March 1



Tuesday, August 21, 2012 . . . Capitalizing on ratings momentum, advertising demand and increased revenue potential for entertainment programming in the 11:35 p.m. time slot, ABC today announced a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term. On Tuesday, January 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the only late-night broadcast talk show to increase in Total Viewers this past season, will move to 11:35 p.m., putting the show in head-to-head competition with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” Proven late-night performer “Nightline” will shift to 12:35 a.m., allowing viewers to begin and end their broadcast day with news. The moves are timed to take advantage of the built-in promotional platforms provided by ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and ESPN’s Bowl Championship Series, which culminates with the National Championship Game on Monday, January 7. In addition, “Nightline” will expand its programming commitments with a move into primetime, Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. beginning March 1. Given its success and growth, the ABC News series “What Would You Do?” will also find a new home on the schedule.


In making the announcement, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “Given the passionate fan base ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the time slot.” She continued: “This shift also allows us to bookend our programming day with compelling news content. And the addition of a new primetime hour of ‘Nightline’ on Friday nights will ensure that the program has even more opportunities to continue its incredible, award-winning reporting.”


For the complete 2011-12 Broadcast TV Season, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” grew its overall audience over the prior season by 3% in Total Viewers to generate its most-watched season in 5 years. In addition, “JKL” was the only late-night broadcast talk show to grow year over year in Total Viewers.


And the show’s ratings momentum has continued. During the recent July sweep, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” surged year to year by 15% in Total Viewers to deliver its most-watched July sweep ever. Notably, “JKL” grew its overall audience year over year in all 4 sweeps of the 2011-12 Season. The program was also up over the year-ago sweep by 5% in Adults 18-49 to score its best July in 4 years – since 2008. In addition, “JKL” stood as the only broadcast talk show in late-night to achieve yearly growth in either Total Viewers or Adults 18-49. And on Sunday, September 23, Jimmy Kimmel will take another turn in the spotlight when he hosts the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.


The shift for “Nightline” in late-night and the addition of a new “Nightline” broadcast hour in primetime, timed to utilize the Academy Awards as a promotional platform, continues the momentum of ABC News, which has enjoyed a banner year of success and growth. From a resurgent “Good Morning America,” to the groundbreaking, innovative digital deal with Yahoo that immediately catapulted ABC News to the top of digital news delivery, to the recently completed joint venture with Univision for a 24-hour culturally relevant lifestyle and news channel for U.S. Hispanics -- the fastest growing demographic in the nation -- ABC News has gone from strength to strength and success to success.


In commenting on the announcement, Ben Sherwood, president, ABC News, said: “‘Nightline’ has proven its ability to grow over three decades on the air, with the show currently enjoying some of its highest ratings and best editorial work ever. The ‘Nightline’ team will now bring its excellent journalism to new time periods, and we especially welcome the chance to produce an hour every Friday in primetime, where new audiences will be introduced to the program’s signature storytelling, interviewing and investigations. I’m confident ‘Nightline’ and its dynamic anchors, correspondents and staff will enjoy many successes for years to come.”


Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, added: “The time is right for Kimmel to make this move…he’s ready, and so is his audience. For the past 10 years we’ve built the foundation for this shift, and we’ll be celebrating the New Year as only Jimmy Kimmel can… with that unique brand of humor and universal wit that has endeared him to fans of all ages.”


The Disney/ABC Television Group is composed of The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE: DIS) global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations, and radio and publishing businesses. This includes ABC Entertainment Group, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels Worldwide, Radio Disney, ABC Family and SOAPnet, as well as Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution. Hyperion Publishing and the Company’s equity interest in A&E Networks round out the Group’s portfolio of media businesses.


Jimmy Kimmel Live will move to the 11:35PM timeslot beginning January 8, 2013. Nightline will follow it at 12:35AM. ABC will also air a weekly primetime version of Nightline on Friday at 9PM, which will debut on March 1, 2013. Reportedly, JKL is getting the earlier timeslot because of  its ratings growth. More details can be found on Deadline.

  • SJ

    As someone mentioned two newsmagazine shows back to back is a bit much.

    Haven’t they essentially been doing that for two seasons now with 20/20 and Primetime: What Would You Do?

  • jRobnyc

    Kimmel is gonna be the new “Conan” the one who promised but didn’t deliver, just watch. I could be wrong, but I think I’m right on this one.

  • Brad

    ABC needs to be careful shuffling everything around. Look at what happened to their daytime block! They cancelled two long running soap operas in hopes of a ratings phenomenon with a cooking show and lifestyle show. But they were dead wrong! The Revolution was cancelled after only 3 months, The Chew has declined 40% from All My Children’s numbers. The Revolution’s Replacement Good Afternoon America is doing the same numbers as The Revolution and BOTH The Revolution and Good Afternoon America are off 70% from One Life to Live’s numbers! General Hospital is the ONLY stable show they have and come September 10th they are booting Good Afternoon America and moving General Hospital to 2pm so that they can give Katie Couric a $80 million syndicated talk show. If Katie fails I don’t know what ABC will do. My whole point on all of this is, sometimes greed can wind up ruining the good thing you had.

  • JB

    It’s about damn time! Kimmel’s show is perfect to compete against Letterman/Leno.

  • Bee

    awesome! JK is hilarious and his show is much funnier than most others. letterman and leno are ridiculously boring to be honest. they’ve got the veteran respect, but damn their shows are giant snoozefests unless they’ve got some really interesting guest.

  • Walker

    Wow, I was not expecting a move like this, since ABC has always seemed so loyal to Nightline. But it will be interesting to see how Kimmel, Letterman, and Leno stack up.

  • nuvo911

    The last time this happened was with Arsineo Hall and Arsineo lost his job. Good Luck Jimmy. See you back on Kroq.

  • Fake Me Out


    Time will tell but I’ll go on record as saying I predict this will blow up in ABCs face with a hit to the ratings/viewership of both JKL and Nightline. And no, the first few nights don’t count … the “real results” will be seen a few weeks into the change when a) people get over the “newness” and b) other people figure out Nightline ain’t on anymore and move to Jay or Dave … sadly I think it will be Jay but I hope it’s Dave. So the question, if this does bomb, how does ABC get outa the mess they created for themselves while trying to save their face as well as Kimmels?


  • Gary Middleton

    Jay is on the way out the door anyway. By 2014 I think Kimmel will be squaring off against Fallon.

    In the meantime, I think Leno will take a big hit in the booking department. Now that Kimmel’s guests can get on before midnight, all the big names under the age of 45 will make Kimmel their first L.A. stop instead of Leno.

  • Gary Middleton

    “Wow, I was not expecting a move like this, since ABC has always seemed so loyal to Nightline.”

    I agree, Walker. I don’t think the most ardent late night fanatics saw this coming.

    “Kimmel is gonna be the new “Conan” the one who promised but didn’t deliver, just watch. I could be wrong, but I think I’m right on this one.”

    JR, the idea of Kimmel as another Conan sparked this thought: maybe Kimmel was being courted by another network and forced this move.

  • Julia

    Came here looking for the anti-Kimmel troll to see his reaction. Disappointed. :(

  • Justin


    Just cause a show moves, Does not mean the audience moves as well.

  • iggy

    ABC is transitioning Nightline to primetime. It doesn’t make sense to have a newsmagazine at 12:30.

  • Morgan Wick

    Consider this: Kimmel will now be going up against the Colbert Report as well.

  • Chris

    I think they’re just looking at the future and seeing a vulnerability. By 2014, at the end of Letterman’s contract, he may leave a void at CBS. Leno’s days are numbered at NBC, so there’s a potential void there.

    If ABC is patient with Kimmel, his will be the stable choice.

    Leno’s and Letterman’s ratings in the demo have sunk so much…Kimmel may be able to put them away. Depends on what kind of show he does.

  • harsh reality

    Why mess with something that works?

    Kimmel will just be viewed as “too crass” by the dinosaurs that still watch Leno and Letterman.

    All the while losing viewers to both the Colbert Report and Conan.

  • Oliver

    They have identified that Kimmel skews much younger than Leno and Letterman and there’s a potential gap in the market.

    I think it’ll do well.

  • Monikka

    What? No outcry about how Jimmy Kimmel is stealing jobs from the news division? How come Kimmel isn’t donating millions to ease the transition of the workers his ego is displacing? He must not be a very good guy. (We knew this already.)

    This show won’t succeed unless ABC pumps huge amounts of money into it to cover up the fact it’s hosted by mediocrity personified. (Call it the Fallon model.) And we all know pumping money into late night just isn’t done anymore.

    We’ll wait and see. Sigh…I wish I didn’t have a late night monkey on my back.

  • Dan


    How is he stealing jobs from the news and displacing people? Nightlife is still on, it just moves an hour later. Nightlife will still employ their staff.

  • Monikka

    No icons for tongue-in-cheek here. How about TIC?

    I’m referring to discussions on another late night thread here that Leno hasn’t given up “enough” of his salary to his staffers who are losing jobs. Leno hasn’t given enough while Conan gave up both his testicles, an old pinky ring, and, evidently, the hair on the back of his head.

    I’m so very, very happy for Jimmy Kimmel, a monumental talent and a sex symbol for the ages. (TIC)

    The second paragraph in my previous post was the serious one, full of keen insight.

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