Be honest. Many of you thought the same way I did that Jimmy Kimmel’s weird brand of humor was perfectly suited for a cable program like “The Man Show” but he would have trouble when he started hosting his own late-night network talk show on ABC in 2003.
Either Kimmel’s humor has become more mainstream or the world has learned to appreciate his style of comedy because Kimmel’s become the talk of late-night talk. He’s hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner, his show got its first Outstanding Variety Series Emmy nomination this year and ABC has decided to move “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in January to the 11:35 p.m. weeknight slot where he will go head-to-head against the two pillars of late-night TV — David Letterman and Jay Leno.
Kimmel’s not sure why he’s finally become so accepted.
“Maybe it’s more like the sad kid sitting outside of the house where the party is happening, and finally go, ‘All right. Come in and have a drink.’ I don’t know that the world has come closer to my humor, but I think it’s just attrition more than anything. I think if you hang in there long enough, eventually you’re part of the group,” Kimmel says.
Moving Kimmel to 11:35 p.m. is a very smart move by ABC. It sets up a real possibility that Kimmel’s about to go from being the kid sitting outside the party to being the guy who owns the house. At 44, Kimmel’s decades younger than both Letterman, 65, and Leno, 62. When Letterman and Leno finally retire, Kimmel will just be hitting his stride. Even if NBC moved Jimmy Fallon into the “Tonight Show” job, Kimmel will already have momentum.
That would make Kimmel the king of late-night talk. He’s sure come a long way since “The Man Show.”