ABC betting Kimmel can close ad gap with new time slot

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Want to know why ABC is moving “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to 11:35 p.m. from its midnight home?

Just follow the money.

In 2010, Kimmel’s late-night show took in almost $82 million in advertising revenue, according to consulting firm Kantar Media. Last year, it took in almost $100 million. Clearly, Kimmel is on the rise and ABC thinks that moving him to an earlier time slot, when a bigger audience is available, will mean higher commercial rates.

Kimmel has his work cut out for him. NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” made $159.4 million in 2011, and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” generated $154.6 million.

But Kimmel doesn’t have to top Leno and Letterman for the move to pay off for ABC. All he has to do is top what “Nightline” was delivering. Given that Kantar has “Nightline” taking in $40.2 million in 2011 (for a half-hour), that should be easy work for Kimmel.


Including cable, advertisers spent about $5.6 billion on late-night commercials in 2011. In 2010, that figure was $5.4 billion.


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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter: @JBFlint.