ABC Boss Addresses Jimmy Kimmel's Possible Retirement From Late Night TV

Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC
(Image credit: Jimmy Kimmel Live! Screenshot/ABC)

Jimmy Kimmel is in the midst of the final year of his contract at ABC. His late-night talk show is currently the only one of its kind at the Alphabet Network. With the possibility of Kimmel retiring, questions linger about his and Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s future. ABC boss Karey Burke has addressed where things stand, saying:

We are actively in conversations with Jimmy and his team about staying on for as long as he wants to. We've made it clear that he is a critical member of the family and we want him on our air as long as he wants to be on it. It's my hope that he'll be around for a few more years.

There you have it! ABC is no hurry to part ways with Jimmy Kimmel as they continue conversations to keep the late-night host on the network. The goal is not to keep him around in the short-term either. ABC boss Karey Burke told THR that she hopes to have him around for what sounds like a while.

That said, there has to be a Plan B if Jimmy Kimmel decides to move on. Do not worry, everyone. There is a contingency in the works in the event that happens. Karey Burke explained what that plan would involve, saying:

Jimmy has pitched a contingency plan that is brilliant. [When and if he should leave] our first hope is to have a contingency plan that he crafts and leads the way on. That's what we're looking at. He pitched it to me over dinner and has discussed it with [ABC head of alternative and late-night] Rob Mills.

She did not exactly reveal what that "brilliant" contingency plan is. That it exists will have to be enough for now. Could the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live eventually get a successor? She does not say either way.

Karey Burke does say that the hope with Jimmy Kimmel's plan would be that he leads "the way on" it. Sounds intriguing! Those paying attention should learn what happens soon. When asked when ABC expected to get a decision, Burke said "soon." That is a bit nebulous yet assuring timetable.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been a staple of ABC's late-night programming since it debuted 16 years ago in January 2003, so it's not too far off from the 20-year milestone. If Kimmel signed a four-year contract, he could celebrate that notable anniversary. It is hard to imagine him deciding to forego reaching what would be such a significant milestone.

During its run so far, Jimmy Kimmel Live! has become a major part of ABC. The show has hosted a large number of high-profile guests along with popular long-running segments. All the while, it is the home to the funny faux feud between Jimmy Kimmel and actor Matt Damon. Kimmel's signature sign-off is a hilarious reminder of what television would sorely miss if Kimmel retired from late night.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! has also been a player in the late night talk show wars. In 2018, the talk show was averaging 2.08 million viewers. Those numbers place the show third, behind The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Regardless of those numbers, Jimmy Kimmel is a property ABC wants to see continue as its late-night star. The question is will he want to stay or move on? Fans should know soon. Keep watching as episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! air weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.