“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Going Head-to-Head with Leno and Letterman

Big changes are headed to Jimmy Kimmel Live: ABC’s lone late night gabfest is leaving its midnight timeslot for greener pastures at 11:35 p.m., the network said Tuesday.

The schedule switcheroo comes as a dreaded blow for longrunning news program, ABC Nightline, but puts the recently engaged Emmy host head-to-head with his sidesplitting competitors — NBC’s Jay Leno and CBS’ First Man of Late Night David Letterman.

At 44, Kimmel reaches a younger audience than both Letterman, 65, and Leno, 62. Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney explained the move:

“Given the passionate fan base Jimmy Kimmel Live has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the timeslot.”

Kimmel will make its big move on Jan. 8. As a bit of a consolation prize, Nightline will get a one-hour 9 p.m. Friday primetime slot starting March 1.