(NEW YORK) — After 10 years, Jimmy Kimmel is ready to go head-to-head with late-night legends Jay Leno and David Letterman.
On Tuesday his ABC late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, makes its debut in its new time slot, 11:35 p.m. ET, where it will directly compete against NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman.
Kimmel says he’s excited about leaving his old midnight time slot because, he explains, his staff is now “refocused on the show…and people are working a little harder.”
Leno is actually bumping up his show a minute early, to 11:34, in response to Kimmel’s move.
Kimmel’s reaction: “I think that’s an interesting move….Maybe that will help. Maybe it will squash us. Who knows.”
Kimmel says there won’t be many changes to his own program, aside from a possible facelift to his set.
He concedes it will be a “bit weird” for him to face off against Letterman, his childhood idol, for a full hour. Kimmel likens the late-night battle to a baseball fan stepping up to the plate against Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
He elaborates, “Even if you had all of Nolan Ryan’s baseball cards and his poster on your wall, if he’s pitching to you, you have to try to hit it. And he might throw one at your head.”
Kimmel’s guests during his initial episodes in the 11:35 time slot will include Jennifer Aniston — who’s on Tuesday night — Ryan Gosling, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Foxx, Sofia Vergara, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kim and Kourtney Kardashian.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lisa Respers France and Brian Stelter, CNN
Nikki Siegel, Idaho Falls Magazine
Eric Bradner, CNN