Late night TV just got a wake-up call. ABC has announced that Jimmy Kimmel , best known as the co-host of “Win Ben Stein’s Money” (we kid) will soon compete with icons David Letterman and Jay Leno in the coveted 11:35pm time slot. ABC’s strategy is based on a stark but undeniable fact: As Letterman and Leno age, so do their viewers. Letterman, in fact, has agreed only to extend his contract through 2014–just long enough to best Johnny Carson’s on-air record—and Leno recently consented to a much-publicized pay cut and staff reduction.

But this isn’t your father’s 11:35pm time slot. No longer is it a lonely post-news netherworld for budding insomniacs and beleaguered parents looking to steal a drink and a laugh before bed. Today, the nightly monologue must compete with Call of Duty, Twitter surfing, Funny or Die marathons and the endless distractions emanating from our iPads and digital televisions. (At least we can still do all these things with a cocktail in hand.)

With an increase in options, however, comes a decrease in loyalty–and younger generations aren’t bonding with TV personalities like the generations that revered anchors like Walter Cronkite and late night personalities like Johnny Carson. Jimmy Kimmel is staring into the abyss, but he’s cool with that–and he should be. Read more