Ford on Kimmel: hey, he’s not my mayor

It’s true–I helped Jimmy Kimmel bag Rob Ford. Toronto’s cartoon mayor will be the special guest Monday on Jimmy Kimmel Live (11:35 p.m., ABC and City).
Now, before you all start storming my house with pick axes, torches and bobble heads, calm down people, I have no political dog in this hunt. I live in Brampton, outside of Toronto, and have no vote in Ford’s future. Nobody wants my spend-happy mayor on their U.S. late night talk show, although God knows I’d help raise funds for that one-way ticket.
Besides, my role was a minor one. I was lucky enough to be among three veteran TV critics–Bill Carter of the New York Times and Neal Justin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune being the other two–to have been Kimmel’s guests for dinner last summer during the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles.
Kimmel was just back from his honeymoon (he married co-head writer Molly McNearney; the couple are expecting their first child). He invited us to a taping of his show, hosted us in his office and then drove us over to a terrific steakhouse, where the four of us consumed a cow and a pig.
Kimmel kept asking me about my “crazy mayor.” He was fascinated by Ford–and this was well before the alleged crack video surfaced and the crack really hit the fan.
When hizzoner blew up in all his crack-smoking, pussy-eating glory last November, Kimmel began begging for him to come on his show every night. That would be after ripping him for the first ten minutes of each show.
I checked with Kimmel’s publicist to see if the host was sincere. Assured that he truly did want nothing more than Rob Ford on his couch, I suggested I might be able to help. Kimmel’s folks handed me off to his New York talent booker.
I put her together with Joe Warmington at The Sun, who I knew had Ford’s ear. There was an anxious week last November when we all thought this would take place then, but for what ever reasons–connected to the Fords, apparently–it did not.
That it is happening now has me busy writing a follow up piece for CP and on hold for a call from Kimmel’s co-producer. He’ll hopefully fill me in on what finally brought Ford to LAX. That’s where Jimmy was waiting Saturday night to greet hizzonor with his limo cap and home made sign. More to come as the story unfolds.

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