Jimmy Kimmel Reignites Late Night War, Says Leno ‘Can’t Stay On TV Forever’ 

ALTThanks to the brilliant three-episode saga on Louie this summer, Jay Leno actually caught a break. While an off-screen David Letterman used Louie (Golden Globe nominee Louis C.K.) as a pawn to get a raise, Leno was the (k)night(time) host in shining armor who gave the comedian a coveted slot on his show. For the first time maybe ever, Leno looked like the good guy, especially among younger audiences who typically revile the car-loving, decidedly unhip Tonight Show host. Was the late night war, at long last, over?

Of course not. So long as Leno is still on the air alongside rivals Letterman and Conan O’Brien, the war will never cease. While the far-too-amiable Jimmy Fallon would never dare take a side, Jimmy Kimmel has been more up front about his feelings on Leno’s cutthroat history with his late night brethren. Back in August, Kimmel (who does a pretty killer impression of the famously-chinned Tonight Show host) put it rather succinctly: “F**k him.” Once again, Kimmel — who will soon be in direct competition with Leno when his ABC show Jimmy Kimmel Live! moves to the competitive 11:35 PM ET time slot — has aired his grievances about him. During a conference call to talk about the big shakeup for his show, Kimmel said of Leno, “Just when you think he’s dead, he comes back.” 

With rumors circulating that NBC is discussing Fallon as a possible replacement when Leno does eventually leave, Kimmel put it simply, “The fact is that 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.” Kimmel also addressed NBC’s decision to move Leno and The Tonight Showto a slightly earlier 11:34 PM time slot “tells me that they are a bit concerned.” He added, “I’ll be curious to see how long that goes on. That’s a trick designed to bring up their ratings in the first month…What really matters is how you do in May and that’s when we’ll know where we stand.” Though Kimmel sees Leno’s move as simply a ratings ploy, he promises his fans nothing will change during the time switch. “It will pretty much be the same show we’ve always been doing….The jokes will remain exactly the same,” he said. “We’re moving 25 minutes earlier. From a Standards and Practices standpoint, it’s not a huge difference.” Let the games begin.  [Photo credit: ABC] More: Jimmy Kimmel ‘Takes Umbrage’ with Jay Leno on ‘Larry King Now’ ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Moves to 11:35, Opposite Leno and Letterman Jennifer Aniston Swims With Jimmy Kimmel… And Is Pregnant With Triplets? — VIDEO

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