ABC‘s late-night message to advertisers at the upfronts next week is clear: with all the changes in broadcast and cable, ABC is the epitome of stability. As supporting evidence, the network has extended the contract of its late-night host Jimmy Kimmel for two extra years, keeping him on board through at least January 2017. (Maybe Kimmel will be more mellow in his annual assault on his own bosses in the traditional upfront roast next week?) Kimmel is in a stronger position than his broadcast rivals — while they are hosts of late-night franchises, Jimmy Kimmel Live! was created by him for him and is associated with him, almost like Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and Stephen Colbert. Come next year when David Letterman retires, Kimmel will be the longest-serving broadcast late-night host on the air. ABC launched Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2003 after the Super Bowl. After a decade at midnight, the show was moved to 11:30 PM in 2012, possibly creating a late-night domino effect. Kimmel started to make inroads in the young demos, which likely factored into NBC’s move several months later to replace Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon has been easily winning the 11:30 PM battle since taking The Tonight Show in February, which may have played a role in Letterman’s decision to retire from CBS’ Late Show. Still, Kimmel has done OK, especially on Thursdays with his Scandal-themed episodes.
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