In its second week back on TV, Jimmy Kimmel Live! will be returning to its original 11:35 PM time slot but there is a twist. The late-night talk show will go from its standard hourlong format to 30 minutes, with a new half-hour Nightline following at 12:05 AM. The entire ABC late-night block will remain 1.5 hours in length, with an encore presentation of the Jimmy Kimmel Live episode from earlier that evening slotted at 12:35 AM.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! swapped slots with ABC News’ Nightline, which normally starts at 12:35 AM, on March 17, a day into the late-night talker’s production suspension over the coronavirus crisis when JKL was in repeats and Nightline was attracting strong viewership interest with its wall-to-wall COVID-19 coverage.
With that setup working well, JKL was kept in the 12:05 AM slot in its first week back on TV, airing original, remotely produced hourlong episodes. The talker also has its devoted following, so a return to its signature 11:35 PM start time was logical; at the same time a 12:35 AM start for a topical Nightline, which has been topping late-night ratings, was too late.
By cutting JKL‘s run time in half for the time being, ABC is going for compromise — JKL in its element and Nightline in a reasonable time period when it can still reach sizable audiences.