Controversy becomes Jimmy Kimmel, though it may give parent company Disney heart palpitations. Turns out, the week of November 18, Jimmy Kimmel Live had its best week in both viewers (2.86 million) and in the demo (1.05 million) since it moved to its earlier 11:35 PM time slot in January to play with the big boys. November 18, maybe not coincidentally, was the deadline for Kimmel’s non-fans to collect 100,000 signatures on a petition mandating White House comment on the ABC program’s Kids Table segment in which Kimmel asked a group of precocious moppets, among other questions, how they thought the United States should repay its $1.3 trillion debt to China. “Kill everyone in China,” giggled little Braxton. After which, all hell broke loose for Disney.
Kimmel had been getting loads of free press since the October 16 broadcast, but it reached the boiling point as the petition neared its required 100,000 signatures. With that threshold easily hit, the White House is now obligated to comment on 6-year-old Braxton’s suggestion. (The White House raised the number of petition signatures required last January, after a petition calling for the deportation of CNN’s British primetime anchor Piers Morgan, and other petitions, very quickly hit the previous 25,000 signature threshold.) Kimmel has apologized for the segment, Disney has apologized for the segment, ABC has expunged the segment from all platforms and even plowed under the Kids Table segment.