Jimmy Kimmel Move Kicks Off Late Night Ratings War
Jimmy Kimmel is coming out swinging as he gets set to take on Leno and Letterman in a late night showdown.
Tuesday night, Kimmel takes over the 11:35 p.m. Nightline time period on ABC, going head to head with Letterman on CBS and Leno on NBC. Nightline moves back an hour to 12:35 a.m.
Kimmel vows to take no prisoners. In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, he actually calls Leno a "sell-out!"
"Leno hasn't been a good stand-up in 20 years," said Kimmel.
And in an interview with New York magazine, Kimmel says, "Everyone is better than Leno."
Alicia Quarles of E! told INSIDE EDITION, "This grudge is extremely deep and it's almost personal. It's not like these guys just don't get along, it's nasty. He says that Jay isn't funny, that he used to be the king and now he's not on top anymore. So it cuts pretty deep."
In a further slap in the face for Leno, Kimmel is expressing nothing but praise for David Letterman.
"If I beat David Letterman in the ratings, does that mean I'm better than Letterman? No way."
The two late night hosts clearly have mutual respect for each other. Letterman even appeared as a guest on Kimmel's show last October. And Kimmel and Letterman seem to be ganging up on Leno.
In an interview with Oprah that aired Sunday night, Letterman re-ignited his ongoing fued with Leno, saying, "He is the funniest guy I've ever known. Therefore, the fact that he is also, maybe the most insecure person I have ever known, I could never reconcile that."
Kimmel is arming himself for battle with a brand new set and an impressive line up of A-list guests for his debut week at 11:35 p.m. Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara and Jamie Foxx are all scheduled to appear on the show this week.
Leno is responding by moving the tonight show up by one minute to 11:34 in a bid to draw viewers away 60 seconds before Kimmel Live begins.
Quarles told INSIDE EDITION, "Jimmy Kimmel has always wanted this opportunity. Now he gets to go up against the big dogs. He's done a lot of talking, now let's see if the ratings come through."
It's shaping up to be one heck of a late night smackdown.