The ABC session at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday morning started with a series of intemperate questions for ABC entertainment chief Steve McPherson from a schlubby “reporter” from Sarasota, Fla.
“Is ABC actively courting Jay Leno?”
“Doesn’t that mean you could go to jail?”
“Will Ted Koppel get fired?”
“Are you concerned Jimmy Kimmel might fire bomb your house?”
And: “How do you keep your hair so nice?”
The “reporter” was Jimmy Kimmel himself, incognito in jeans and a t-shirt with a baseball cap pulled down to his ears.
The skit was an attempt to address the elephant in the room: whether Jay Leno will end up on ABC when NBC lets him go in order to move Conan O’Brien into Leno’s Tonight Show chair.
Leno’s contract is up next year. O’Brien debuts on the Tonight Show in fall 2009. Jimmy Fallon will take over Late Night.
Seriously, said McPherson, “To me it’s a question for NBC. I can’t believe they’re going to let this guy go at the top of his game.”
McPherson added that any discussions with Leno would take place with Kimmel’s knowledge and involvement.
“I can’t say enough about Jimmy,” he said. “His show has just exploded this year.”
By Marisa Guthrie