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Jimmy Kimmel Plays Down ‘Nightline’ Ratings Comparison In Advance Of 11:35 Debut

Tonight Jimmy Kimmel takes over 11:35 PM on ABC, pushing back “Nightline,” which will now start at 12:35 AM. In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable editor Melissa Grego (subscription required), Kimmel sets low ratings expectations, hinting that he expects the program to perhaps draw fewer eyeballs than “Nightline”:

Kimmel says he hopes people don’t make direct comparisons of Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s ratings to Nightline‘s. “Nightline is a half-an-hour-long show that was rated on, like, 17 minutes,” he says, “and we’re an hour-long show — and in late-night, that’s a major factor. Your first half-hour is higher-rated than your second half-hour because people go to sleep.” The only fair comparison to make is with Leno and Letterman. “We’re all on head-to-head now,” Kimmel says.

That said, ABC still says it expects to make more money with Kimmel than it would with “Nightline,” which was one of the impetuses behind the move to 11:30:

Due to the demand for entertainment programming in the hour, ABC reps say, JKL‘s younger audience in the earlier time period lets ABC get additional commercial time at premium CPMs. And JKL won’t have to beat Leno or Letterman — or deliver the numbers of Nightline – to make more money for the network in its new time period.

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