The biggest TV news of the week had to do with Jimmy Kimmel — news that has the potential to shake up late-night TV.
Yes, it’s another “late shift” in the offing as ABC gets set to move “Jimmy Kimmel Live” into direct contention with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on NBC and “The Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS.
1) But that won’t happen until January: Nevertheless, the announcement that “JKL” will move to 11:35 p.m. eastern time this winter livened up a slow news day in mid-August.
What it means is this: ABC believes that Kimmel, with 10 years of ratings growth under his belt (where ABC had none before), is ready to compete head-on with the big boys, Jay Leno and David Letterman, whose ratings are declining (however at a snail’s pace) as they age. Moreover, ABC’s decision means it has more confidence in the long run with Kimmel than “Nightline,” which was often beating both Jay and Dave, but will now be relegated to 12:35 a.m.
Our prediction: “Nightline” might eventually die off in that time slot (giving ABC a chance to compete with another talk show in that slot), Kimmel will gain some viewers by starting 25 minutes earlier (though he won’t surpass Leno or Letterman any time soon), and NBC might begin having its customary second thoughts about Leno and start the process of replacing him with Jimmy Fallon (though that won’t happen overnight either). Whatever happens, Kimmel got the ball rolling by joking about it this past Tuesday.
2) Royal turmoil: Multi-medal-winning Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was apparently present for the scandal of the week — the one in which Britain’s party-hearty Prince Harry was caught on camera with his pants down (or, more to the point, completely off). Lochte happened to be attending the same wild Las Vegas party, and the Olympian talked about it on “The Today Show” this past week with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
3) Robert Pattinson didn’t exactly say he was homeless: Here’s a lesson in how the entertainment-news media works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be). This past week, love-lorn “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson came on the “Kimmel” show to promote his new movie, “Cosmopolis,” and the headlines that resulted from his appearance almost all had Pattinson declaring, “I’m homeless!” The problem is: That didn’t occur. He never said, “I’m homeless.” Instead, it was Jimmy Kimmel who used the word “homeless” when he asked Pattinson, “The last time you were here, I think you were homeless.”
And Pattison answered, “I still am!”
Headline-writers around the country made it seem as if he said, “I’m homeless!” Poetic license? Yes. Accurate? Well, no.
4) So biology is not his strong suit: That’s the conclusion you couldn’t help reaching when Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri went on a local talk show in his home state and declared that women have the biological power (or is it physiological?) to somehow ward off a pregnancy if it results from a “legitimate” rape. To many on both the left and the right, the statement was so lame-brained that it threw Akin’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate into question — and that’s a key question because the Republicans needed him to win in Missouri for them to have a chance of claiming a majority in the Senate after Election Day. So the leaders of the GOP pressed Akin to get out of the race. What did he do? He went on TV to see if he could wiggle out from under this firestorm.
5) How long can these previews “Go On”?: In today’s highly competitive television arena, who knows? This past week, NBC once again aired the pilot episodes of two new fall comedies — “Go On” starring Matthew Perry and “Animal Practice” starring Justin Kirk (and a monkey). The two aired back-to-back this past Tuesday, after already airing during the Olympics on NBC. We hope NBC will soon “go on” to episode two of each of these.