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Jimmy Kimmel hosts his funnyman idol, David Letterman, during the Halloween edition of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live.'
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BY SCOTT COLLINS
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES--The noisy green room of Jimmy Kimmel's talk show in Hollywood was crawling with the show's 30something writers, who stole occasional glances at the monitors as the 45-year-old comic joked with a woman in the studio audience.
A few minutes later, Kimmel's former intern Carson Daly, now a friendly rival in the late-night TV wars, swung by for an on-camera visit.
With ABC moving "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to an 11:35 p.m. time slot this week, displacing the venerable "Nightline," Daly offered his host a prediction: "Now you're going to become probably the most powerful man in television."
ABC can only hope. The Disney-owned network and its rivals NBC and CBS are looking to win over the next generation of late-night TV viewers, and by moving Kimmel now, ABC is looking to put its man in the pole position.
NEW TIMES, NEW MODEL
For NBC's Jay Leno and David Letterman of CBS, the final sign-off is drawing nearer. Both are 60something baby boomers who picked up the torch of NBC's Johnny Carson, whose "Tonight Show" ruled late night for several decades.
But the type of talk show Carson presided over--a splashy party with a long monologue, skits and a big band--is slowly getting downsized. Think of Comedy Central's "Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report," which have become smash successes with a host and stripped-down comedy bits.
Late night's new paradigm, experts say, is tech-savvy, younger-skewing and much cheaper. That fits an age in which many viewers are forgoing watching an entire program at its scheduled time, opting instead to watch a few minutes on their phones or tablets the next day.
With his frequent You-
'THEY'LL BE GONE'
"Leno and Letterman have been doing this for a long, long time," said Gary Carr, senior vice president and executive director of national broadcast for ad firm TargetCast.
"You know they're not going to be doing it forever. Eventually they'll be gone. Kimmel is the young guy; he'll be around another 20 years," Carr added. "ABC figures, 'What the heck, let's move him up now, when people can get used to him.'"