Jimmy Kimmel 'Respects Letterman Too Much' to Compete Against His Finale

ABC/Randy Holmes
Host Jimmy Kimmel on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" 

With the rise of cable late shows and viral-centric TV, the late night TV landscape is a lot more competitive today than it was 10, 15 years ago. But even with the vitally important sweeps week coming up, Jimmy Kimmel is deciding to put his heart in front of his ratings.

The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host announced that in deference and tribute to his childhood comedy idol David Letterman, he will not be airing a new episode of his show to compete with the impending series finale of Late Show With David Letterman on May 20.

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"I have too much respect for Dave to do anything that would distract viewers from watching his final show," Kimmel said in an email, per the New York Times. "Plus, I’ll probably be crying all day, which makes it hard to work."

Letterman's finale is the subject of Rolling Stone's new cover story; while the full article isn't out yet, a preview of it finds Letterman calling Kimmel "very sweet" but having less-than-kind words for Jimmy Fallon's version of The Tonight Show. Letterman told RS the revamped, viral-friendly Tonight Show is essentially "a commercial for itself."

Letterman's finale airs May 20. The NYT reports that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Conan will air original shows that night, while Comedy Central has The Daily Show and The Nightly Show in reruns that day. 


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