The new ABC leadership can breathe a sign of relief — the network’s late-night star Jimmy Kimmel has agreed to a new three-year contract extension to continue as host and executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! The announcement was made by ABC President Karey Burke at the network’s Upfront press conference.
With the new extension, Kimmel, already the longest-running late-night host currently on broadcast, will bring his ABC talk show show to 20 seasons.
Kimmel has been an MVP for ABC, also hosting the Oscars twice and the Primetime Emmy Awards for the network and appearing in 16 upfront presentations where he always has been a main attraction. But after signing his previous three-year extension, which was announced at ABC’s 2016 upfront presentation, Kimmel had been hinting that he was considering retiring from the daily grind of doing a late-night show when that deal was up in 2019. It is unclear whether hitting the 20th-year milestone would be the end of Kimmel’s late-night journey.
Kimmel has been ramping up his producing efforts after last November he teamed with entrepreneur and producer Brent Montgomery to launch media company Kimmelot as a joint venture with Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.
It had been a priority for ABC brass to keep Kimmel in the fold. While talks were going on, the network went forward with a green light for a longtime Kimmel passion project, live sitcom special, Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons, set to air on Wednesday, May 22.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, currently in its 17th season, is a viral video juggernaut, with 10 billion views and 14 million subscribers on the show’s YouTube channel.