- ABC cites "increased revenue potential" as a motive for airing "Jimmy Kimmel Live" earlier
- Kimmel goes head-to-head with the older Jay Leno and David Letterman
- ABC boasts "Kimmel" is only late-night talk show to see ratings growth in the past year
The late-night TV talk war grows more competitive in January when ABC moves "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to an 11:35 p.m. start, pushing the long-running "Nightline" back an hour.
ABC cited "increased revenue potential for entertainment programming" as a motive for moving Kimmel from the midnight timeslot he's occupied since January 2003.
The decision is "a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term," according to an ABC statement released Tuesday.
Kimmel, 44, will go head-to-head with the older and more established hosts of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" starting January 9.
"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," said Disney/ABC Television President Anne Sweeney. "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."
Although "Nightline" is moved back to 12:35 a.m., the show will get a Friday night primetime hour at 9 p.m. starting March 1 to "ensure that the program has even more opportunities to continue its incredible, award-winning reporting," Sweeney said.
ABC boasted that "Jimmy Kimmel Live" was the only late-night broadcast talk show to see growth in overall audience in the past year.
Kimmel will host the Primetime Emmy Awards next month.