Jimmy Kimmel is off work for the summer. Like last year, Kimmel will be taking the grueling months off to recharge for the fall.
In his place, ABC has lined up a murderers’ row of comedians and celebrities. Here are the planned fill-ins for the summer:
Anthony Anderson, Nicole Byer, Al Franken, Jeff Goldblum, Chelsea Handler, Sean Hayes, Simu Liu, Rob McElhenney, Lamorne Morris, Desus Nice, Mark Rober, and Kerry Washington.
Okay, not exactly a murderers’ row or even an average group of folks. But the tease needed something to spice it up.
While ABC says the above “talents” are merely guest hosts, the network could view their stints as unofficial try-outs.
Before leaving for another summer break, Kimmel questioned how much longer he would host a five-day-a-week late-night program with his contract reportedly expiring at the end of 2022.
“Eventually, I am going to have to stop doing this. I’m not going to do this forever,” Kimmel said on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast. “I would not be honest at all if I said that I have decided one way or the other. I’m thinking about it a lot, though.”
ABC does not have a succession plan in place for Kimmel. So, the network best hope Kimmel does not step down at the end of the year. Even if you are no fan of Kimmel’s commentary, it’s hard to look at this guest list and see promise.
Chelsea Handler tried late night on Monday. Spoiler: she’s cringe:
Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest host Chelsea Handler thinks an AR-15 has more rights than her vagina and says women are deleting their menstruation apps from their phones pic.twitter.com/J3DtbXKzOe
— Alex Christy (@alexchristy17) June 28, 2022
And she might be the best of the bunch.
Desus Nice, really? How many times does this guy get to fail before he leaves showbiz?
Oh, and Al Franken as a late-night host — stop.
Interestingly, ABC did not include ESPN host Stephen A. Smith this year. Smith guest-hosted for Kimmel last August and admitted he is pushing to get a late-night show on ABC or Hulu, sister networks of ESPN.
Missing the cut doesn’t bode well for Smith’s chances of moving to late-night in the near term. Though Smith isn’t funny — a former must-have quality for late-night hosts — he’s a stronger candidate than, say, Simu Liu.
Perhaps ABC is punting, and of the mind that late-night is archaic, on the verge of death. But that’s only the case because ABC, CBS, NBC, and “Comedy” Central no longer program shows that are funny or worth staying up for.
See, Americans still like late-night television. Bill Maher proves this case every Friday night and Saturday morning when his “New Rules” segment creates rounds of headlines. However, viewers don’t like Trevor Noah and James Corden.
Unfortunately, ABC loaded up the summer with people like Mark Rober and Kerry Washington. So while ABC is a better option than Stephen Colbert at CBS — what isn’t? — it’s still a bad option.
Anyway, we hope Jimmy Kimmel enjoys his summer and gets some rest.