LOS ANGELES–Sometimes when you are down here filing to six or seven different media outlets at once you get stuck in your room filing on deadline and you miss something unexpected. Like this exchange this morning from the ABC executive session with network programming president Stephen McPherson (thank God for transcripts):

JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): Hi. My name’s Tom Weinerman from the Sarasota Star-Herald Tribune. There are rumors that ABC is actively courting Jay Leno for 11:30. Is there any truth to those rumors?
And if so, I have a follow-up then.
STEPHEN McPHERSON: I don’t really feel comfortable answering that in this forum. What’s the follow-up?
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): Is it McPherson orMcPhorson?
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): If anything were, God forbid, to happen, would that mean — would Ted Koppel get fired, or how would that work?
STEPHEN McPHERSON: Yeah. It would be doomsday for Ted.
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): If you were even to talk to Jay Leno, wouldn’t that be like contract tampering? Wouldn’t that be illegal? Couldn’t you go to jail for that?
STEPHEN McPHERSON: It’s possible, but you know — do you have any other questions?
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): How do you keep your hair so nice?
STEPHEN McPHERSON: Can we get this guy out of here? Obviously the Leno situation we figured —
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): Are you at all afraid that if you do replace Jimmy Kimmel, he might do something crazy to you or your car?
STEPHEN McPHERSON: Yes. Actually, very afraid.
JIMMY KIMMEL (from the audience): I’ll be out in the parking lot.

McPherson said later at the session that “the Leno situation, to me it’s a question for NBC. I can’t believe that they’re going to let this guy go at the top of his game, and if that happens, I guess we’ll look at it at the time, and Jimmy will be involved in those discussions, and that will be that.”
Kimmel, it was announced yesterday, has split with his girlfriend of five years, Sarah Silverman. He split immediately following his well-timed press tour prank, avoiding any questions about his personal life. Laugh, clown, laugh.

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