This week the late night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” moves to its new time slot at 11:35 and Kimmel directed some harsh words to Leno, whose show airs during the same time slot.
“Leno hasn’t been a good stand-up in 20 years” Kimmel told reporter Jonah Weiner in the latest issue of Rolling Stones according to the Huffington Post. Kimmel continued, “As a comedian, you can’t not have disdain for what he’s done: He totally sold out. He was a master chef who opened a Burger King.”
Despite the critiques, Leno’s show appears to be doing fine. Leno’s contract with NBC Entertainment has been extended past its expiration in 2014. Additionally, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt pointed out that the second half of Leno’s show usually outperforms the first half of Kimmel’s show. Nonetheless, Leno has moved up the “Tonight Show” to 11:34, a minute before “Kimmel Live” begins.
Kimmel’s time change also puts him in the same time slot as talk show host Letterman, but Kimmel only has praise for him. Inside Edition reports Kimmel said, “If I beat David Letterman in the ratings, does that mean that I’m better than Letterman? No way.” Kimmel’s teaming up with Letterman is seen as another insult to Leno.
Kimmel’s recent comments are not the first time he has had harsh words for Leno. When Leno was planning to move from NBC to ABC, he befriend Kimmel in the hopes Kimmel would push back his show for him. However, Leno decided to stay at NBC and when Leno stopped befriending him, Kimmel “[felt] stupid.” In 2010 Leno was in negotiations to retrieve the “Tonight Show” chair from Conan O’Brien who had held the position for seven months. Kimmel devoted an entire episode of his show impersonating Leno while negotiations were ongoing Kimmel then did an interview on the “Jay Leno Show” and although Leno tried to avoid discussing the hosting controversy, Kimmel repeatedly blamed.
Kimmel is not the only one to critique Leno. Both Letterman and Patton Oswalt have made contradictory statements about the late night show talk host. Letterman recently told Oprah Winfrey Leno is “the funniest guy I’ve ever known. Therefore, the fact that he is also, maybe the most insecure person I have ever known, I could never reconcile that.”