Monday, December 9, 2019

KIMMEL AND LENO: THE UNFRIENDLY RIVALRY

December 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jimmy Kimmel, who mercilessly skewered Jay Leno — even on Leno’s own program — in the wake of the Conan O’Brien/Tonight show fiasco in 2009, seemed to make it clear on Wednesday that his rivalry with Leno will be anything but friendly when he moves into the 11:35 time period on ABC on Jan. 8. During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to discuss the move, he was asked indirectly about a report that Jimmy Fallon will likely replace Leno on the Tonight show when Leno’s contract expires in 2014. Kimmel suggested that he doubts such a transition will occur, saying, “You can never count Jay out” and compared Leno with Jason, the evil-doer in the Friday the 13th movies. Just when you think he’s dead, Kimmel said, Leno “comes alive and he’s got a hatchet.” At that point, another reporter asked, “What’s your problem with Jay?” To which Kimmel responded, “Well, first of all, I will say 88 percent of the thinking and talking I do about Jay Leno comes when I’m doing an interview; otherwise, I don’t think much about him.” He said he only answers questions about Leno because on his own show, “there’s nothing I dislike more than a guest who won’t answer the question.” Nevertheless, Kimmel went on to say that his disenchantment with Leno began when he read Bill Carter’s Late Shift, which described how Leno maneuvered to take over the Tonight show after Johnny Carson stepped down. “I realized Jay had schemed to take something away from someone that I admired [David Letterman]. … And the scheming seems to have continued.” Nevertheless, he added, “NBC is going to make a decision someday. As much as he would like it, Jay Leno can’t stay on television forever, and Jimmy Fallon is the heir apparent.”