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ABC moves Jimmy Kimmel, shrinks 'Nightline'

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Jimmy Kimmel Live! is taking a bite out of Nightline. ABC’s late-night show is moving from its always-awkward 12:05 a.m. start time to straight-up midnight. That’s gonna reduce the veteran news show to 25 minutes (it begins at 11:35 p.m., after local news).

“The company firmly believes Nightline is a vital part of its successful late night strategy,” wrote ABC News president Ben Sherwood in an email to staffers, somewhat unconvincingly. “[This] gives Jimmy the chance to leverage that strong lead-in more effectively with a quicker connection to late night viewers, which will help him build on the great momentum his show has experienced over the past year.”

Nightline has been quite competitive in the ratings this year, frequently topping other late night programs in total viewers. (Its interview with Jesse James last May, for example, drew the show’s biggest audience since 2005.) Some longtime news-watchers, however, have complained the show seems fluffier than it was under Ted Koppel’s reign (see: again, Jesse James).

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