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Jimmy Kimmel hints at exiting his talk show after over two decades

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Feb 22, 2024 1:25 pm

Looks like Jimmy Kimmel is ready to bid adieu to his long-time TV show after the famed host hinted that he's no longer renewing his contract when it expires in 2025.

Kimmel revealed his plans in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published on Feb. 20, where he talked about Jimmy Kimmel Live! and his preparations for hosting the 2024 Oscars in March.

“I think this is my final contract. I hate to even say it, because everyone’s laughing at me now—each time I think that, and then it turns out to be not the case. I still have a little more than two years left on my contract, and that seems pretty good. That seems like enough,” the 56-year-old TV host told the outlet.

It was clearly a tough decision for the veteran host. LA Times reported that Kimmel previously said in the Strike Force Five podcast that the 2023 SAG-AFTRA Strike has made him realize how much he's enjoying his job.

"It's hard to yearn for it when you're doing it," he said. "Wednesday night, I was very tired and I had all these scripts to go through—I had to revise and rewrite all these pitch ideas for the Oscars—and I was literally nodding off onto my computer."

"In these moments, I think, 'I can't wait until my contract is over,'" he continued. "But then, I take the summer off or I go on strike, and you start going, 'Yeah, I miss the fun stuff.'"

Kimmel and American broadcast network ABC debuted Jimmy Kimmel Live! on January 26, 2003. The show made him the longest-serving late-night talk show host in America to date. 

Kimmel took a hiatus from the program from June to September 2020, during the pandemic, but also went on to sign a three-year contract extension with ABC in September of that year, which will take the show to its 23rd season.

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In the meantime, Kimmel is gearing up to host the Oscars for the fourth time since 2017. He admitted he's not sure why he agreed to host again after being the awards night's emcee when Will Smith gave his controversial slap to Chris Rock. But last year's movies, like Top Gun: Maverick and Barbie, made a difference in his decision.

He explained, "I knew there was a movie that people had seen, and it just makes the job easier. Then this year, I am sitting in a movie theater watching ‘Barbie’ and thinking, ‘Well, maybe I’ll do this again because at least I have a point of reference with everyone.'"

As to how he sees himself after Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the seasoned host said, "I don't know exactly what I will do." Still, Kimmel is set on focusing on his hobbies, like drawing and cooking, as well as being "very busy" learning new ones.

He described his future self as one who "speaks Italian. He plays the harmonica beautifully. He is an expert fly-fisherman. He does all these different things that I know I’m not actually going to do. He’s drawn some graphic novels that were very well-received."

"He’s very busy—it’s funny, whenever I think of what I’m going to do when I stop working, it all involves more work," Kimmel quipped.