Late-Night’s Jimmy Kimmel Fired From Hosting Role, Replaced by NFL Legend Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski

jimmy kimmel rob gronkowski
Credit: Disney/ABC/Canva

Comedian and late-night entertainment king Jimmy Kimmel has reportedly been removed from his hosting role and replaced by NFL legend Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski in response to his “far-left” political views.

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jimmy kimmel in black suit and tie at desk

Credit: Disney/ABC

Jimmy Kimmel’s Path to Success in Hollywood 

Jimmy Kimmel has enjoyed huge success as the host of ABC’s late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, but his role as one of the most recognizable names and faces in late-night television was a long time coming.

Kimmel started his career when he was still in college, hosting an interview show on KUNV, the radio station owned and operated at the time by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV). Shortly thereafter, he landed a morning show gig on a radio station in Seattle, Washington.

Inspired by David Letterman’s beginnings as a radio host, Kimmel wanted to follow the same path, and though–like Letterman–Kimmel ultimately ended landing a gig of a lifetime as the late-night talk show host for one of the country’s biggest television networks alongside other giants in the industry like Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, and Stephen Colbert, his journey to get there has been very different from Letterman’s.

jimmy kimmel on jimmy kimmel live

Credit: Disney/ABC

Kimmel left radio to lend his talents to the Comedy Central network, working first as a co-host on The Man Show and Win Ben Stein’s Money. He went on to create and produce three other shows on the network, including The Sports Show With Norm Macdonald. ABC brought him on for a new show that used his name in the title, and the first episode of Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! aired on Sunday, January 26, 2003, following SuperBowl XXXVII between the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And while that Sunday night marked the last time a Super Bowl game was ever played in the month of January, it also marked the beginning of a more than 20-year role for Kimmel, despite the first few months of the show amassing poor ratings and producers’ struggling to find celebrities to appear as guests of the show.

But despite its humble and nail-biting beginnings, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! would go on to become one of the most popular offerings in late-night television and one of the ABC network’s most popular shows.

Kimmel Dabbles Outside of “Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!”

Though ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! has been the comedian’s proverbial bread and butter, Kimmel’s comedic prowess and his natural talents as a speaker and host have also afforded him numerous roles outside of his late-night gig.

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Jimmy Kimmel with Snoop Dogg and George Clooney/Credit: Disney/ABC

Kimmel has hosted the Academy Awards twice, as well as the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C. He has hosted awards shows for the Primetime Emmys and the American Music Awards, as well as a celebrity version of ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which debuted on the network on April 8, 2020.

Jimmy Kimmel to host 2020 Emmy Awards

Jimmy Kimmel as host of the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards/Credit: Disney/ABC

And though Kimmel enjoyed success and critical acclaim in many of his roles he took outside of Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, his political views have reportedly cost him a role he began in 2021, and his replacement is a famous NFL legend.

The “Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl”

Originally slated to be played in December 2020, a brand-new college football game that was originally to be called the LA Bowl, was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first game finally debuted in December 2021, but under a different name–The Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

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“Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl”/Credit: ABC

As part of a naming rights agreement made with Jimmy Kimmel that secured his role as the host of the annual NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football game, the event was given the comedian’s name in what he mistakenly announced on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! as the only bowl game to be named for a person.

But Kimmel’s recent “far-left” political views have reportedly had a part in his removal from that role. Kimmel was fired from his gig as host of the annual college football game event earlier this year and has been replaced by NFL legend Rob Gronkowski, known better as “Gronk.”

Kimmel Replaced by an NFL Legend

Gronk, Kimmel’s replacement, played as a tight end for the New England Patriots for nine seasons, beginning in 2010, before heading to Florida to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons before retiring in 2021.

rob gronkowski

Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski/Credit: Disney/ESPN

As Kimmel will no longer host the event, his name has been replaced in the title of the event as well. It’s now titled The LA Bowl Hosted by Gronk, and the first game is scheduled for December 16, 2023.

“Jimmy was a fantastic host and brought a lot of elements to the game,” Gronkowski said, “but it’s my turn now and I’m going to turn it up, that’s for sure.”

Chris Sloan, the head of global partnerships at SoFi Stadium and for The LA Bowl Hosted by Gronk, is excited about the NFL legend’s role in the event too.

rob gronkowski

Credit: Disney/ABC

“Rob is larger than life and an outstanding representation of football at the highest level,” Sloan said. “‘The LA Bowl Hosted By Gronk’ continues to merge the world of competitive sports with top-notch entertainment, and we cannot wait for the fans to experience college bowl season with Rob Gronkowski.”

Gronkowski’s role will be that of official host of the game. The former tight end will kick off game day with a grand entrance, after which he’ll oversee the coin toss and follow up with the presentation of the trophy to the winner of the match-up.

Kimmel’s Politics Get Him the Boot

As Jimmy Kimmel has been so successful in his hosting roles over the years, some were surprised by his removal. But according to Screengawk, the situation may have been brought on by Kimmel’s own doing:

“Jimmy Kimmel may have contributed to his own firing, as he hasn’t held back from voicing his far-left views while attacking conservative politics. Today’s political climate has tensions soaring on both sides, and most people turn to things like football for some much-needed escapism. Gronkowski, for his part, has remained neutral on his political stance.”

Jimmy Kimmel (L) and Rob Gronkowski (R)/Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America/Canva

Representatives for the event have not confirmed or denied the reason for Kimmel’s removal from his role.

It’s important to note that the events surrounding Kimmel’s removal as host of the L.A. Bowl have no bearing on his role as host of the Disney-owned ABC television network’s wildly successful late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, which airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!