via Press Release
ABC MAKES STRATEGIC SHIFT IN LATE-NIGHT STRATEGY
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Moves to 11:35 p.m. on January 8 to Capitalize on
Ratings Momentum, Higher Ad Demand and Greater Revenue Upside
Audiences Can Begin and End Their Day with ABC News as “Nightline” Shifts to 12:35 a.m. on
January 9 and Adds a Primetime Hour Every Friday Night at 9:00 p.m., Beginning March 1
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 . . . Capitalizing on ratings momentum, advertising demand and increased revenue potential for entertainment programming in the 11:35 p.m. time slot, ABC today announced a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term. On Tuesday, January 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the only late-night broadcast talk show to increase in Total Viewers this past season, will move to 11:35 p.m., putting the show in head-to-head competition with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” Proven late-night performer “Nightline” will shift to 12:35 a.m., allowing viewers to begin and end their broadcast day with news. The moves are timed to take advantage of the built-in promotional platforms provided by ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and ESPN’s Bowl Championship Series, which culminates with the National Championship Game on Monday, January 7. In addition, “Nightline” will expand its programming commitments with a move into primetime, Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. beginning March 1. Given its success and growth, the ABC News series “What Would You Do?” will also find a new home on the schedule.
In making the announcement, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “Given the passionate fan base ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the time slot.” She continued: “This shift also allows us to bookend our programming day with compelling news content. And the addition of a new primetime hour of ‘Nightline’ on Friday nights will ensure that the program has even more opportunities to continue its incredible, award-winning reporting.”
For the complete 2011-12 Broadcast TV Season, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” grew its overall audience over the prior season by 3% in Total Viewers to generate its most-watched season in 5 years. In addition, “JKL” was the only late-night broadcast talk show to grow year over year in Total Viewers.
And the show’s ratings momentum has continued. During the recent July sweep, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” surged year to year by 15% in Total Viewers to deliver its most-watched July sweep ever. Notably, “JKL” grew its overall audience year over year in all 4 sweeps of the 2011-12 Season. The program was also up over the year-ago sweep by 5% in Adults 18-49 to score its best July in 4 years – since 2008. In addition, “JKL” stood as the only broadcast talk show in late-night to achieve yearly growth in either Total Viewers or Adults 18-49. And on Sunday, September 23, Jimmy Kimmel will take another turn in the spotlight when he hosts the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
The shift for “Nightline” in late-night and the addition of a new “Nightline” broadcast hour in primetime, timed to utilize the Academy Awards as a promotional platform, continues the momentum of ABC News, which has enjoyed a banner year of success and growth. From a resurgent “Good Morning America,” to the groundbreaking, innovative digital deal with Yahoo that immediately catapulted ABC News to the top of digital news delivery, to the recently completed joint venture with Univision for a 24-hour culturally relevant lifestyle and news channel for U.S. Hispanics — the fastest growing demographic in the nation — ABC News has gone from strength to strength and success to success.
In commenting on the announcement, Ben Sherwood, president, ABC News, said: “‘Nightline’ has proven its ability to grow over three decades on the air, with the show currently enjoying some of its highest ratings and best editorial work ever. The ‘Nightline’ team will now bring its excellent journalism to new time periods, and we especially welcome the chance to produce an hour every Friday in primetime, where new audiences will be introduced to the program’s signature storytelling, interviewing and investigations. I’m confident ‘Nightline’ and its dynamic anchors, correspondents and staff will enjoy many successes for years to come.”
Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, added: “The time is right for Kimmel to make this move…he’s ready, and so is his audience. For the past 10 years we’ve built the foundation for this shift, and we’ll be celebrating the New Year as only Jimmy Kimmel can… with that unique brand of humor and universal wit that has endeared him to fans of all ages.”
The Disney/ABC Television Group is composed of The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE: DIS) global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations, and radio and publishing businesses. This includes ABC Entertainment Group, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels Worldwide, Radio Disney, ABC Family and SOAPnet, as well as Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution. Hyperion Publishing and the Company’s equity interest in A&E Networks round out the Group’s portfolio of media businesses.
Soaps In Depth is reporting that CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” is about to lose another “core four” member as Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester) has informed producers and the shows writing team that she plans to leave the series at the end of her newly signed short-term contract. Flannery, like the departing Ronn Moss (soon-to-be ex-Ridge Forrester), has been with the show since it debuted on March 23, 1987 – more than 25 years ago!
With Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Forrester) renewing her contract late last week, that leaves John McCook (Eric Forrester) as the only core member whose status with the show remains a mystery.
According to In Depth, Flannery opted to sign a new short-term deal in order for the shows writers to adequately write her character out of the series. Unlike Moss, however, viewers shouldn’t expect the show to recast Stephanie Forrester as head writer Bradley Bell indicated they would do with the character of Ridge Forrester sometime down the road.
A representative for the soap did not immediately respond to a request for comment at press time to Soap Opera Network.
On Saturday, August 18, Flannery joined Moss and “The Young and the Restless” stars Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) and Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore) for “The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell” book signing. Co-authors Lee Phillip Bell and Michael Maloney were also in attendance.
In an exclusive interview with TV Guide‘s Michael Logan, Bradley Bell, Executive Producer and Head Writer of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” has revealed that he plans on recasting the role of Ridge Forrester now that Ronn Moss is departing the series after filming his final scenes later today.
Bell, who only found out that Moss opted not to renew his contract on Thursday, August 9, tells Logan that losing Moss is a “huge” deal. Ultimately he’s “very sad but also very grateful for the 25 years we did have with him. Ronn is a wonderful man and a great actor and he’ll be sorely missed.”
For those wondering how Bell plans to write the character off the canvas, albeit temporarily, Bell says, “I went ahead and wrote a wedding for Ridge and Brooke [Katherine Kelly Lang] — a real retrospective sort of wedding that honors the characters’ 25-year relationship — and then I have them take off on a honeymoon. I’ve been in this business long enough to know I have to protect my show. The worst thing happened but at least I was prepared.” Images of what looked to be a supposed wedding popped up on Facebook on Saturday, August 11, just moments before news broke of Moss’s departure from “B&B.”
“Ridge will not be dead or presumed dead. He will just not be in the picture. I don’t want to do a presumed death because I don’t want the story that follows to be all about Ridge. This will be a Brooke story,” says Bell. “Ridge is a pivotal part of the show and he will be back in a matter of time…and probably not all that much time. I will continue writing for the character. I’m looking at this in two phases, really. There will be a period of time without Ridge, which is where some new, interesting avenues for Brooke will come into play. But at some point it will be necessary for Ridge to return to the show. Who will be playing the role at that point remains to be seen.”
According to Bell, Moss’ last airdate is scheduled for Friday, September 14.
For the full Bell interview, head on over to TV Guide‘s website.
“The Young and the Restless” Swings the Axe!
Soap Opera Network has just learned that Executive Producer and Head Writer Lynn Marie Latham has been fired from CBS’ “The Young and The Restless,” effective immediately. Latham’s husband, Bernard Lechowick, who served as a Creative Consultant and Writer, has also been let go. Other writers exiting the show are Marina Alburger and Lynsey Dufour. More writers from Latham’s team are expected to follow.
Josh Griffith, who went on “Financial Core” status and replaced Latham as Executive Producer, is expected to remain in that position. However, there is no word yet if Griffith will remain as Head Writer. The status of Co-Head Writer Maria Arena Bell and Writer Paula Cwikly were unclear at press time.
“Y&R” is the second Sony Pictures Television owned soap to have mass firings. On February 1, 2008, nine writers from NBC’s “Days Of our Lives” were given the axe.
Stay tuned to SON as more details become available.