Jimmy Kimmel Live: Randy Tepper

Why Jimmy Kimmel's talk show has stars just saying no. The new host of late night is having a hard time finding stars to sit on his couch

February 27, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Even though the audience can no longer drink alcohol and Disney jokes are verboten, producers of ABC’s ”Jimmy Kimmel Live” are bullish about the late-night chatfest. ”It’s compelling TV,” says exec producer (and ”Letterman” vet) Daniel Kellison. ”When a show sort of blows up, it’s totally fun to watch.” Which is why he seems willing to overlook a supposed boycott of ”Kimmel” by the other nets. Rumors persist that CBS, NBC, and Fox are keeping their stars away from Kimmel’s couch, but all the nets insist that’s not true. (Still, Fox star Bernie Mac was scheduled to appear, but then bailed at the last minute.) ”There are enough funny people out there,” claims Kellison, citing previous guests like Adrienne Barbeau and Christopher Lowell, as well as future guest cohost Don King. It’s hard to tell whether viewers agree; the program is drawing the same number of young adults as ”Politically Incorrect” did a year ago. But Kellison says he has the key to college kids’ hearts: He predicts that the show will be allowed to serve booze again to the audience — as early as next month. ”Of course, I haven’t talked to anybody at Disney about it,” he admits. As long as he doesn’t bring up Mickey’s rumored problem with Ripple, it should go over just fine.

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