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Jimmy Kimmel asks ABC president about Leno - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 16th 2008 2:02PM
Jimmy Kimmel asking Steve McPherson about LenoA funny thing happened at the beginning of the ABC executive session this morning. After ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson got on stage, said some opening remarks, and opened the floor to questions, someone got up and identified himself as Tom Weinerman of the Sarasota Star-Herald Tribune. That was a bit unusual, as the reporters here never identify themselves before asking questions.

But then, people started recognizing the voice, or turned in the direction of the questioner, and realized what was going on: It was Jimmy Kimmel, and he had some pointed -- and funny -- questions for McPherson about the possibility of Jay Leno coming to ABC.

"Are there any rumors that ABC is courting Leno and how would that work?" was the opener. He also asked "Would Ted Koppel get fired?" When everyone realized who it was, a big laugh came up from the crowd. McPherson gave a pat -- scripted? -- answer. Kimmel then said "Is it McPherson or McPhorson?"

He went on to ask if talking to Leno at this point would be considered tampering, and if there were legal ramifications to that. Finally, he asked "How do you keep your hair so nice?" and if they hired Leno, is he afraid that Kimmel might "do something crazy to you or your car?"

Even the most cynical critic had to appreciate the effort. After the session, McPherson told a huge scrum of reporters that, after Leno joked about joining ABC on The Tonight Show Monday night, he asked Kimmel to come to TCAs and do this bit to defuse a little of the controversy. As for Leno, all McPherson would say was that "I can't believe (NBC is) lettng him go at the top of his game."

As for Kimmel, he was both on vacation and he's dealing with a bad breakup, so this favor to McPherson shows how loyal his is to ABC. I just wonder how loyal he'll be when he's shuffled to 12:30 in favor of Leno...

More on McPherson's session later today.

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WhatI

I'm still surprised that NBC hasn't reconsidered the Leno/Conan plan (Leno comments from other sources make it sound like NBC is determined to make the switch) I understand Leno's job is highly coveted, and Conan deserves it for the great job he's done in New York, but Conan forged his own show over the years - and it's great!!
The switch means at least one show will be gone, since neither Leno nor Conan could step into each other's shoes and be as good. If Conan brings his New York game to L.A., it will have to be heavily tweaked to be considered a continuation of The Tonight Show, at the expense of the brilliance of Late Night. Conan was perfect to succeed Letterman, since he kept the vein of humor that his predecessor started running at full pump while giving the show a bump to the next level. Leno did the same with his show - Carson's show was great, but Leno need to move it forward while keeping it moving in the same direction. He did that, and I think Conan is capable of the same, but at what expense? Just as with Letterman's move to CBS, Conan will have to bring a more mainstream approach, dimming the brilliance of what had come before. Too bad.....

Here's an idea: ABC gets Leno, Conan still does Tonight, Kimmel gets Late Night, Fallon kicks Carson Daly to the curb, and Ferguson waits patiently and respectfully for Letterman to hang up his hat on his own terms.

July 16 2008 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam

Video or it didn't happen!!!!!

July 16 2008 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sam's comment
Joel Keller

Adam, best I can do is the photo I just posted. It replaced the headshot that was there before; it's from this morning's exec session.

July 16 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mohaski

Kimmel is probably welcoming the idea of Leno moving to ABC. If Leno remains the most popular late night talkshow host, it can do nothing but improve Kimmel's own ratings. ABC would get rid of Nightline to make way for Leno, which means there'd only be a 30 minute bump for Kimmel, which isn't that bad. Hell, here in Madison Kimmel doesn't come on until that later time slot anyways, because our ABC affiliate also runs a syndicated Seinfeld, in addition to Nightline, before Jimmy hits the air...

July 16 2008 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mohaski's comment
Tool

Good point. Plus if Leno creates a strong 11:35 show, Kimmel could move into that slot when Leno really retires in 7-10 years when he is in his mid-60's.

July 16 2008 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alvaro

hahaah THis is great I love when Jimmy does stuff like this. He is the future of Latenight so ABC should not bring it Leno, Jimmy can carry the load.

And this is while he is going through a breakup. Which cousin Sal alouded to a little bit last night.

July 16 2008 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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