Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kimmel earlier, "Nightline" later

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" will move to the 11:35 p.m. slot and the veteran late-night news show "Nightline" will air at 12:35 a.m. beginning in January, ABC announced Tuesday.

It will pit Kimmel directly against Dave Letterman on CBS and Jay Leno on NBC. ABC said that it was taking advantage of momentum in Kimmel's ratings, saying his show was the only network late-night talk show to gain viewers in the last year. Kimmel is up 3 percent, the network said.

Nightline will gain a prime-time foothold with an hour show each Friday at 9 p.m. beginning in March, meaning the series What Would You Do? will move to a new time slot. 

In Charlotte, "Nightline" consistently draws higher ratings than Leno and Letterman -- about a third more than Letterman and more than double Leno's, said Robert Wendt, research director for WSOC (Channel 9). But Kimmel performs strongly at midnight, too, nearly matching Letterman's ratings among adults 25-54 and nearly doubling Leno's audience in the same demographic.

"Nightline" was launched as a nightly news special hosted by ABC anchor Frank Reynolds on Nov. 8, 1979 to report on the Iran hostage crisis. Ted Koppel soon took over the broadcast and it was formally named "Nightline" in 1980. Koppel retired from the show in 2005.