Arsenio Hall is a year away from his late night return. Jimmy Kimmel was fine with his time slot of 12:00 A.M, a half hour before Leno and Letterman battle it out, where Leno has remained supreme after the Conan debacle. Starting in January 2013, Kimmell will be moving to 11:35 P.M. where he will go head to head and chin with Jay Leno and David Letterman.
ABC is also trying to set up Jimmy Kimmel to host the Academy Awards after the Oscar's were wanting to get Jimmy Fallon to host the show. ABC actually got involved knowing what was at stake with Arsenio returning and Fallon eventually taking over "The Tonight Show" in a few years.
Leno has had attention on him this week for 20 people from his staff being forced to let go. If you believe Howard Stern however, Leno was trying to get rid of them and not look like the bad guy.
Leno and Kimmell have had a less than friendly rivalry. When Kimmel was entering the late night fray about 10 years ago, he said he got a call from Jay wishing him luck but "not understanding why they need another late night show." When Jay was set to leave "The Tonight Show" and be replaced by Conan, ABC let Kimmel know they were set to offer Jay the 11:35 time slot and move Kimmel back to 12:35. During a writers strike, Jay appeared on Kimmel and said "I'm just wondering if your desk looks better where it is or over there." confirming the talks ABC had with Jay.
When Jay moved to 10 P.M. for the ill-fated "The Jay Leno Show" Conan O'Brien did not understand his time would be limited as host of "The Tonight Show" unless he got kick-ass ratings. He didn't and NBC's "in case of emergency" landing of Jay at 10 p.m. instead of losing him to ABC worked. They cancelled Jay and gave Conan an ultimatum that forced him out of "The Tonight Show" and put Jay in. Letterman and Kimmell, who thought they were done with Jay came up with nightly Leno jokes until Oprah got involved.
Now with Arsenio Hall set to return to the late night wars of September 2013, and a surprising 85% of the nation already picking up the show in syndication, ABC felt it was the right time to move Kimmell into direct battle with Leno and Letterman. Kimmel is the only late night host where ratings have been up.
ABC knows Leno and Letterman are getting up there in age, and soon in a few years, it will be "The Arsenio Hall Show" versus "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" versus "The Jimmy Kimmel Show" in the battle for late night. It would be safe to see Conan taking over for Letterman when Letterman steps down at CBS as well.
There is no doubt in my mind that Arsenio will succeed. The person who may suffer in this is the person who has had the best guests, musical and otherwise on his show the past few years which is Jimmy Fallon. Fallon's fan base and mixture to guests rivals those of Arsenio back in his 90's heyday.
There are way too many late night show's who seem to have the same guests on during the week. Let's make no mistake about it; the reason for Kimmell moving to 11:35 is because of Arsenio's return and to get that audience used to tuning in at that time instead of midnight.
Expect a booking war for guests with Arsenio, Leno, and Kimmel all being in Los Angeles, which will benefit Fallon and Letterman.
Let the late night wars begin! Who will U be watching?-DocFB