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ABC’s Rob Mills Hopes Jimmy Kimmel Will Stick Around In Late-Night As He Ponders Next Generation Of Talk Show Hosts

Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 29 years and David Letterman hosted Late Night and The Late Show for 33 years.

Could Jimmy Kimmel, who is in his 22nd year hosting his eponymous show for ABC, surpass them?

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ABC’s Rob Mills certainly hopes he gets close. Mills, EVP, Unscripted & Alternative Entertainment at Walt Disney Television, speaking at the Realscreen event in New Orleans, said Kimmel, who is two-thirds of the way through his latest contract signed in 2022, is a “massive asset” to the company.

“It’s interesting; he went from the late-night guy to now one of the faces of the Walt Disney Company. He hosts the Oscars … he does Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for us,” he said. “He’s going to do this as long as he wants to do it but hopefully it’s a little bit longer. Is he halfway through? No I don’t think he’s going to do it for 40 years, but I would love 30.”

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However, Mills said Kimmel doesn’t seem that bothered by late-night landmarks. “I remember the last time his deal [was up] it would have been year 19. ‘Why don’t you get to 20?’, I said. ‘I don’t care about that,’ he said. ‘That means nothing to me.’ So, yeah that argument won’t work, but we’ll try,” he added.

When asked what the future of late-night TV holds, Mills joked that he needs Kimmel to stick around a bit longer so he can figure that out.

“I think we’re always going to need [these voices]. But people think it’s as easy as pulling out a list. People say ‘Tina Fey should be doing late-night,’ but clearly Tina Fey is too busy running an entire business to do late-night. It is very hard,” he said. “It’s definitely something we think about in the back of our head. Who is that that next generation? Hopefully they’ll be inspired by Jimmy or Jon Stewart or Trevor Noah.”

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