After 11 years on the air, ABC's Los Angeles-based "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" is looking forward to being "the only 11:30 game in town"-and all the primo music performances that come with that exclusivity. "It hasn't really sunk in, but it's about to," "Kimmel" music booker Scott Igoe says. "My phone's been ringing off the hook."
To that end, Igoe notes that "more country and adult contemporary artists" like Eric Church are slated to take the show's outdoor stage, which boasts new sponsor AT&T (the program's multiple song performances will be streamed to the phone provider's customers) and room for an audience of 1,000. Also planned are shows and segments from this year's South By Southwest and more music mini-sets on Hollywood Boulevard, where Justin Timberlake and Paul McCartney headlined in 2013. This coming year, Igoe hopes to shut down the tourist-heavy stretch for a full week.
Jay Leno's exit leaves Conan O'Brien and Craig Ferguson competing for acts in the after-midnight slot (Arsenio Hall's syndicated show airs at 11 in most markets, later in others), but, Igoe warns, with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman, "that's a very crowded atmosphere-and it's tough to do Odd Future at 11:30." Although Fallon disagrees with that last part.
Best viral stunt: Twerking girl catches on fire (2013) An elaborate video-revealed to be a hoax-showed an attempt at the infamous Miley Cyrus dance move that ended in a flame-out. "We just put it up on YouTube and let the magic happen," Kimmel said at the time.
Biggest controversy: Kimmel vs. Kanye West (2013) After mocking the rapper's spate of nonsensical interviews, West went on a Twitter rant calling the late-night host a "manipulative media motherfucker." West later sat down with Kimmel and hashed it out.
Most mind-blowing performance: Prince (2012) A 15-minute medley of his greatest hits, including "When Doves Cry" and "Raspberry Beret."
Best viral stunt: Ode to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal (2014) Fallon and Bruce Springsteen mocked the politician with a parody of "Born to Run."
Biggest controversy: Questlove vs. Michele Bachmann (2011) The drummer sparked a media firestorm-and nearly got fired-for playing Fishbone's "Lyin' Ass Bitch" as the walk-on music when the Republican presidential candidate was a guest.
Most mind-blowing performance: Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and the Roots doing "Because the Night" (2010) "That was the most intense playing I've ever done," Questlove said two days after the performance.