‘Kimmel' Gets Into Monday-Night Fight

Begins airing originals on Mondays; may add primetime special pegged to 'Lost' finale
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ABC
is switching the production schedule on late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live,
which will now produce shows on Mondays. Formerly "dark" on Mondays-meaning
reruns would air that night-the show will now make Monday a tape day and
instead go dark on Fridays, still sticking to its four nights per week of
originals.

The
network is also thinking about adding a Kimmel Live primetime special
pegged to the upcoming series finale of Lost; Kimmel is a noted fan of
the show. Kimmel Live aired a primetime special to complement ABC's
March 7 Academy Awards telecast, and is slated to air a series of specials
around the NBA basketball finals.

While
the move to original shows on Mondays coincided with Jay Leno's much-ballyhooed
return to late night, in fact it had nothing to do with NBC's latest late-night
shakeup. Rather, network and show insiders say the move was done to capitalize
on synergies and promotional opportunities with ABC's Monday-night lineup,
which includes reality hits like Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelor
and The Bachelorette. Castoffs and stars from ABC reality shows are
mainstays on Kimmel's show, so the hope is to add late-night audience through
primetime promotion on Mondays.

Prior to Leno's return being finalized, ABC had decided
to air an original Kimmel Live on March 1, in conjunction with the
finale of The Bachelor, and again on March 8, a day after ABC's airing
of the Oscars. So, network brass decided it was a good time to make the
long-mulled switch permanent.

With
stiffer competition now that Leno is back, ABC executives also hope that being
new on Mondays will start the week with a little more momentum for the show. Kimmel
Live
will move its signature "Unnecessary Censorship" bit to Thursdays from
Fridays.

And while ABC's entertainment side has long coveted the
11:35 time slot held by Nightline, insiders say there has been no
movement on that front as the ABC News entrant continues to post solid numbers.
In fact, like its ABC late-night brethren, Nightline is looking at
adding primetime specials as well.

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