Ideally it would have been great to see Jimmy Kimmel come out and cut Nightline's throat in his just-released interview with Broadcasting & Cable. But! There remain some jagged edges in his late-night diplomacy.
For every admission that Kimmel thought — like pretty much everybody else — he'd be following Jay Leno when he presumably moved to ABC, there are a few less specific allusions to his place in the schema of late-night power brokerage. Kimmel backdoors his way into acknowledging that of course he wants to go up against Conan and Letterman (and hasn't ruled 11:30 out as an option at Fox), but at what cost? Being the guy that killed Nightline? If he doesn't do it, somebody else will, yet Kimmel's high-road holiday indicates he's got other things on his mind. Like toy metaphors:
The rumors have surfaced again lately that ABC's entertainment side is making a run at Nightline.
News always wants as much real estate as they can get, and so does entertainment. I don't know that I've ever met [ABC News chief] David Westin, to be honest with you. I just stay out of it. I'm the action figure in their playground, you know, in their bat cave. But it's weird to be part of this circle of gossip. Especially being a fan of late-night television. It's very surreal to be a character in this story.
So do you want 11:30? Would you do things differently?
Yeah I would [want 11:30], sure. Would I do anything different? Mostly thematic. I don't think the approach of the show would be much different. I'd like to have more staff. [...] There are a lot of boring things I could tell you about, but as far as big changes that would be about it. Maybe we'd need a bigger theater, a theater that looks bigger on camera. We're in a very old building.
So, for the record: Kimmel "stay[s] out of it," then in the next breath alludes to the ways Jimmy Kimmel Live has outgrown the confines of its 12:05 ghetto. Guests are improving but still trickling down to the El Capitan after earlier shows, if at all. In his own words, he's on the "very tail end of television as a big money-making business." A perfect time to stay out of it, Jimmy, no doubt. Now might be the time for that David Westin introduction, preferably with a few of your representatives. Unannounced. In a parking garage. After hours. That's where all the best deals are made. Make yours already.