Why Jimmy Kimmel Might Leave Late Night TV

Jimmy Kimmel with beard on Jimmy Kimmel Live
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of ABC)

Jimmy Kimmel has been a late night staple for quite a long time on ABC. He's hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC since 2003 and has been a big competitor when facing off against The Late Show and The Tonight Show--both older brands. At 49 years of age, Jimmy Kimmel is still pretty much in the prime of his career, but he's already looking at the possibility of retirement, at least in the late night game. Here's what he recently had to say about why he might quit the game in the near future.

I know I will do the show for another three years. It's possible that will be it. My wife's pregnant. At a certain point, I'd like to have a little more free time. I have very little free time as it is.

While it's reassuring to know that Jimmy Kimmel has at least a three-year timeline in mind and won't be quitting tomorrow, it's sort of sad to think of a late night landscape that won't feature the snarky comedian. While I'm not a person who would ever be mad about a series living on beyond its peak, there is something admirable about going out on your own terms when you are ready to go and not just trucking through a few extra seasons because you have become a TV icon.

As Jimmy Kimmel also noted to Variety, he has a baby on the way and more kids at home. He'd like to slow down at some point and spend time with his family. He also doesn't want thinks to go stale on his TV series.

I think this job is a grind, and best-cast scenario, a marathon. I want to go out on my own terms. If I ever feel like we're repeating ourselves, I think it's a good indication that it's time.

Jimmy Kimmel has certainly made enough money at this point to do what he wants. He's also busy outside of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and will even be hosting the Oscars when they air next weekend. So, he would probably not completely disappear if and when he quits the ABC gig. Still, not having him around for "Mean Tweets," "LieWitness News" and "I Told My Kids I At Their Halloween Candy" will be a big blow to the late night scene.

We'll let you know when Jimmy Kimmel decides to officially retire, although as of now, he is 100% contracted through 2019 on ABC. In the meantime, you can catch him on weeknights over at ABC. To see what else the networks have coming up, take a good look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.