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January 26, 2023 3:27 pm  #1

Jimmy Kimmel Marks 20 Year Anniversary In A Primetime Special Thursday

I used to love those Johnny Carson anniversary shows that came along every ten years. But this special almost got by me with very little notice. On Thursday night, ABC celebrates Jimmy Kimmel's 20th year on the network. That's pretty amazing in a business that turns over hosts like cards at a blackjack table. In fact, it's hard to believe, but he's now the dean of the late night 11:30 PM hosts, having been there longer than Fallon and Colbert. 

His guests for the special include those who were on his very first show in 2003. And he recalls a rather inauspicious beginning

"Kimmel wasn't expecting a 20-year tenure when Jimmy Kimmel Live! debuted on Jan. 26 2003. The show was preceded by a jokey announcement from Nightline anchor Ted Koppel: "There will be no special post Super Bowl edition of Nightline tonight, so that ABC can bring you...the following piece of garbage.

"Kimmel, who had previously co-hosted programs like Win Ben Stein's Money and The Man Show, didn't seem the most likely choice for ABC's venture into late night talk TV. In the first episode, he's a bit heavier, more nervous and a little disheveled, wearing a suit without a tie and a white undershirt.

"Welcome to 'Enjoy It While It Lasts,' my new talk show," he cracked.

The special airs in primetime at 10 PM, just a few weeks before he fronts another big show - The Academy Awards. (The episode repeats at 11:35 PM if you miss it the first time.)

Jimmy Kimmel celebrates 20 years as a (reluctant) late night TV institution