Believe it or not, Jimmy Kimmel has been hosting his late night talk show on ABC for more than 18 years. Jimmy Kimmel Live! first debuted on the network in 2003, following the host's successful run on Comedy Central. He's become a fixture of the late night TV scene over the last two decades, but it may be time for the popular host to walk away from the desk altogether. Kimmel has been pondering his retirement, which could come sooner than some expect.
While Kimmel remains one of TV's most popular late night hosts, and Disney's ownership of ABC gives his show some of the best guests and exclusives, he could be ready to walk away from the gig as soon as next year. Kimmel's current contract to host Jimmy Kimmel Live! runs out in 2022, and during a conversation with Howard Stern on Sirius XM's The Howard Stern Show, Kimmel admitted that he hasn't yet decided if he wants to sign another contract after Season 20.
"I vacillate. I do love being off. I love not working. It's really so much better than working, and the ideal situation is having people do my job for me while I continue to get paid," Kimmel said. "But I don't know. I don't know. I think I know sometimes, and then when it comes time to make the decision, then I feel like I don't know. But we'll see. When I have to make that decision, I will make that decision."
The idea of spending time on vacation with family — and away from work — is fresh on Kimmel's mind, as he just returned to the show after a lengthy summer break. Kimmel's current contract, which he signed in 2019, allows him to take significant time off during the summer, with various guest hosts filling in while he's gone.
If Kimmel does choose to talk away, perhaps one of his former guest hosts could take over the permanent role. However, unlike the main late night hosts on other networks, Kimmel doesn't have someone else waiting to fill his spot when he leaves. ABC only airs one late night show each week, while NBC and CBS have two. Seth Meyers follows Jimmy Fallon on NBC, while James Corden comes on after Stephen Colbert over on CBS.
Whether Kimmel leaves in 2022 or decides to stick around for a little while longer, there's no denying that he's built something great on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel Live! was the second-highest rated late night show last season, following The Late Show With Stephen Colbert but topping The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Do you hope to see Jimmy Kimmel stay on as ABC's late night host after next year? Let us know in the comments!