Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel was reportedly fired during a live broadcast of his evening show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel Live! debuted in 2003 after Kimmel was over other show hosts for a midnight spot at the Disney-owned ABC television network. But though ABC chose Kimmel, his show had a rough start, initially seeing low ratings and having difficulty attracting guests to appear on the show. But Kimmel was finally able to find his niche within the world of late-night entertainment, differentiating himself from David Letterman and Jay Leno with edgy content and topics. Soon after, ratings began to improve, and Kimmel’s following only grew from there.
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The eventual rise in popularity of Jimmy Kimmel Live! was due in part to recurring comedy segments of the show, including “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” which saw celebrities reading aloud derogatory comments posted about them on Twitter, as well as “This Week in Unnecessary Censorship,” during which harmless, expletive-free words and phrases were bleeped out of video clips.
Ten years after the show debuted, the ABC network moved Jimmy Kimmel Live! to an earlier time slot, initiating direct competition with long-standing and legendary late-night shows and hosts, including The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Twenty years after his late-night debut, Jimmy Kimmel was still going strong. That is until ABC reportedly fired him during a recent live broadcast of the show.
During the show on Monday night, April 24, Kimmel was giving a monologue and discussing the termination of FOX News’ Tucker Carlson, as well as CNN’s Don Lemon. But before Kimmel could finish, he was interrupted by his pal, Guillermo Rodriguez, who is usually tasked with delivering the news on the show.
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“We have some breaking news,” Rodriguez began. “After twenty years on the air, ABC TV has decided to part ways with its host, Jimmy Kimmel.” Rodriguez followed the announcement by telling Kimmel not to let the door hit him on his way out.
While the “news announcement” was obviously meant to be funny and serve as a tie-in to news of Carlson’s and Lemon’s exits, some media outlets picked up the story as legitimate. Though there was no truth to the on-air termination of Kimmel that Monday evening, the late-night host certainly isn’t out of the water.
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Only days after Kimmel’s fake termination aired, a very real scenario began–the Writers Guild of America strike that began on May 2. While some television shows and films can continue as planned–at least for a while–late-night shows have not enjoyed the same luxury. In fact, late-night shows across the major television networks were the first to go dark, as they are typically written day-of, as they pertain to up-to-the-minute (almost) news and events around the globe, per a post at Sky News.
Late-night legends affected by the WGA strike include The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Real Time With Bill Maher, and, of course, Jimmy Kimmel Live! Each of the shows went off the air when the strike initially began on May 2. The Writers Guild of America strike has also made “Saturday Night Live” somewhat of a misnomer, as the Saturday evening show has not been live since the strike started. NBC said the network will air repeats of the show until further notice.
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As late-night entertainment depends on the talents of its writers–many of whom remain on strike–there’s no way to know how long it will be before Jimmy Kimmel and his competitors will enjoy the freedom of going to bed early each night.