Jimmy Kimmel beats Letterman, closes on Leno in new time slot

NEW YORK Wed Jan 9, 2013 3:57pm EST

Host Jimmy Kimmel opens the show at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Host Jimmy Kimmel opens the show at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, September 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a late night riff on David and Goliath, TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel beat out veteran David Letterman and nearly caught ratings champion Jay Leno with his first show in their time slot.

The move from midnight to 11:35 p.m., which took effect on Tuesday, paid off big for ABC. "Jimmy Kimmel Live," with guest Jennifer Aniston, attracted 3.1 million viewers, the second-highest number ever for the 10-year-old show and a 59 percent increase over its usual audience, according to ratings data on Wednesday.

Leno's "Tonight Show" on NBC had 3.3 million total viewers, while Letterman's "Late Show" on CBS was watched by 2.9 million Americans.

In the cherished 18-49 demographic, Kimmel trounced Letterman by 30 percent, with 887,000 versus 683,000 viewers.

"I am now 25 minutes closer to my lifelong dream of co-hosting 'The View,'" Kimmel quipped on Tuesday about his show's earlier time slot, referring to the long-running, popular daytime talk show hosted by Barbara Walters.

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" has led the late-night broadcast comedy race with 3.4 million viewers on average, according to Nielsen. "The Late Show with David Letterman" pulls in 3 million, while "Jimmy Kimmel Live" has grabbed 1.9 million in its former midnight time slot.

At 45, Kimmel is two decades younger than Leno, 62, and Letterman, 65.

ABC hopes that fact, coupled with his younger, tech-savvy audience, will make his show more appealing to advertisers. The network's marketing blitz features ads with the tagline: "Younger. Smarter. Funnier. Earlier."

Kimmel has been making the media interview rounds and exposed his butt crack for a Rolling Stone magazine cover story.

ABC television is a unit of Walt Disney Co..

(Reporting by Chris Michaud editing by Jill Serjeant)

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Comments (2)
desertlover wrote:
I had decided to start watching Kimmel, but there is 15 minutes of show and 45 minutes of commercials. That has got to change if he expects to do well. First night is no indication of how well he will do.

Jan 09, 2013 4:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
wrote:
Does anyone watch ABC?

Jan 09, 2013 9:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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