Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel made a smashing debut at 11:35. The ABC talk show host watched in delight as guest star Jennifer Aniston emerged with a sledge hammer and protective gear and proceeded to wreck what appeared to be a prop breakaway version of his new desk.
It was part of a new backdrop, set and opener for Jimmy Kimmel Live, which now goes head-to-head against NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman.
“I’m now 25 minutes closer to my lifelong dream of co-hosting The View,” said Kimmel off the top. Except on City stations in Canada where the hour-long newscast keeps Jimmy Kimmel Live at midnight. This is a bonus for us Canadians who still get a kick out of seeing U.S. commercials and network promos, all part of the 11:35 ABC affiliate feed. Welcome back, Celino and Barnes.
Kimmel’s new intro has the slimmed down comedian zip lining and scaling walls and basically behaving all James Bondish. Hey, it’s his show, he gets to do that. The segment I liked best and hope becomes a regular feature is the bit where he has celebrities read mean tweets about themselves.
“I saw Larry King at dinner” read Larry King, “but it might have been just a run-of-the-mill goblin.”
“Wow David Arquette got old,” read Arquette.
“Christina Applegate you were better when you wore Spandex instead of Spanx, you old slut,” read Applegate.
Throughout R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts played in the background.
Later, after smashing up his desk, Aniston gave Kimmel a haircut. “Rachel is giving me a Rachel,” he kidded. The unlikely pair recently went on a vacation together with their respective partners and Aniston showed photos of Jimmy in the spa.
Kimmel is completely himself on his show, and has a knack of drawing the same out of his guests. It really does feel like the late night place to see celebrities do silly stuff their handlers didn’t approve.
A couple of things ABC could improve: first, start the show on time, There are too many commercials between the end of the local ABC newscasts and the start of Kimmel, giving the other guys a head start. Second, Kimmel looks lost in front of that new blue city scape backdrop. Make it a little less cluttered.
Other than that, sledgehammer away, Jimmy.
The new timeslot seems to have goosed the guest list. Ryan Gosling appears Wednesday night, with Sofia Vergara, Ellen Degeneres, Bruno Mars and two Kardashians also booked this week.
UPDATE: Kimmel’s 11:35 p.m. debut Tuesday was a successful one in the ratings according to Marc Berman at Media Insights, winning the timeslot over Letterman and Leno.