On Jake Tapper’s new CNN program, “The Lead,” ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel reacted with restraint to the recent news that his current 11:30 p.m. competitor, Jay Leno, will be giving up his top-rated slot to Jimmy Fallon.
Kimmel has been less than gracious towards Leno in the past, saying in January that Leno “sold out” long ago and calling him “a master chef who opened a Burger King.”
KIMMEL: Well, obviously NBC is looking to move on, because they did it once already. This would be the second time this has happened. So I mean it makes perfect sense, and Jimmy Fallon is doing a great job.
TAPPER: And Jay Leno? Well, let’s just say Kimmel’s respect for Jay Leno knows bounds.
You’ve had some tough things to say about Jay Leno.
KIMMEL: Yes, yes. My mother told me to stop.
TAPPER: Is that right?
KIMMEL: Yes. It’s one of those things — I have diarrhea of the mouth — and when I’m asked about it, I tend to go on and on.
TAPPER: You said that he is like a master chef who now works at Burger King. Do you think he is capable of being a brilliant comic and —
KIMMEL: I think he is capable, and I’ve seen him. I’ve — I mean, listen, the guy is one of the great comedians.
TAPPER: But you think he has dumbed down his material?
KIMMEL: Yeah. I think so. I mean I think that’s fair to say.
He is a rock isn’t he?
TAPPER: Yes. An immovable force.
KIMMEL: He is.
Kimmel went on talk about his personal life and another late-night competitor, David Letterman, whom he said he prefers to watch at 11:30 p.m. even more than his own show.