Why Jimmy Kimmel Thought About Retiring From Late Night And Why He Says He Changed His Mind

Jimmy Kimmel Live screenshot courtesy of ABC

All good things can’t last forever, and that’s especially true of late night TV, where even the best and brightest eventually need to take a break from the grind. Jimmy Kimmel recently said pervasive thoughts of retirement did occur to him at one point related to his ABC late night series Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but there’s a major reason why he eventually stopped thinking about retiring.

The answer is in the changing of the guard at ABC. Per Jimmy Kimmel himself, the late night host and comedian is still kicking it with celebrities over at the Disney-owned network thanks to people like “ Karey and Dana and Peter,” people who just so happen to be Karey Burke, Peter Rice and former Fox and now ABC employee Dana Walden.

These people took over at ABC after Channing Dungey left in November of 2018 and they all seem to be a big reason why Jimmy Kimmel himself recently signed a new three-year commitment to the network. He said:

I was seriously considering I don’t know if you would say it was retirement, because I would always do something. But I don’t know that I would host anything, and the job is a grind, but – I know what this sounds like – I really do like Karey and Dana and Peter, and they came in and I think I felt appreciated, and that is important even if you have a job that people think of as a glamorous job. You still want to feel like your company is behind you, and I do, and that was a big part of it. Also, because a lot of my relatives would be unemployed if I quit this job.

Speaking to reporters at a Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour event CinemaBlend attended, Jimmy Kimmel talked specifically about how he considered retiring from Jimmy Kimmel Live! because working on network TV in general – and I’d assume given comments people like David Letterman have made, particularly in late night TV – is a grind. It’s an honest answer and one I wish we would here more in this business.

There are two things that should be pointed out even if Jimmy Kimmel were to quit his late night gig. First of all, the show would likely go on, just with a different host. The same thing happened when the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman, or Johnny Carson retired and would likely happen at ABC as well. Secondly, it’s worth pointing out that Jimmy Kimmel is saying he’d retire from late night, not showbiz.

A former host of The Man Show, Jimmy Kimmel only recently turned 51, so theoretically his Hollywood career has a lot of life left in it. Whether or not he chooses to remain in late night for much of that career remains to be seen.

In particular, we learned a few months ago when contract negotiations were going on that Jimmy Kimmel had pitched “a contingency plan” to ABC regarding if he were to leave the network and retire from late night. So, it seems everyone involved is ready and prepared for this future at some point down the line.

Still, at TCA Jimmy Kimmel made it clear enough that he is happy about the leadership at the network and that he will at least be sticking around for a bit longer, given he signed a new three-year deal back in May. He’s stuck at the network for at least a little bit longer, and hopefully his massive paycheck helps with the “grind.”

Catch Jimmy Kimmel Live! on weeknights on ABC.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.