ABC has confirmed long-running speculation that as part of Jimmy Kimmel’s new two-year deal with ABC, the comedian had asked for his latenight talk show on the network to be moved up from 12:05 AM to midnight. The change will come into effect on Feb.4. ABC News president Ben Sherwood just sent out this memo elaborating on the impact Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s earlier start time will have on Nightline, whose running time will be shortened to 25 minutes. Among other things, ABC News is getting a commitment for 13 hourlong primetime editions of Nightline to air on ABC. Nightline, which recently ranked as the most watched program in late night, had long been a target as the only non-entertainment program to air on the Big 3 networks after 11PM. A decade ago, ABC brass famously plotted to replace it with a David Letterman-hosted talk show. Here is Sherwood’s email:
I’m writing to share some important news about Nightline.
First and foremost, today ABC has definitively answered one of the recurring questions about Nightline and ABC News: The company firmly believes Nightline is a vital part of its successful late night strategy and Nightline will anchor the schedule at 11:35 PM. Period.
Last year, ABC told Jimmy Kimmel that he would get a new start time – moving to midnight effective February 4, 2011. Obviously, this fact will move