U.S. talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" will start at 11:35 p.m. instead of midnight, ABC said, putting the host head-to-head with David Letterman and Jay Leno.
The ABC News "Nightline" program will shift to 12:35 a.m. when the January 2013 change takes place, the network said. "Nightline" will also get a 9 p.m. Friday prime-time slot starting March 1.
"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," Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney said in a statement.
"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 timeslot," she said, indicating the expected viewership increase, compared with "Nightline," will boost ABC's advertising revenue.
"The time is right for Kimmel to make this move. He's ready, and so is his audience," ABC President Paul Lee said. "For the past 10 years we've built the foundation for this shift."
The network has long touted the ability of the comedian, actor, voice artist and TV host to attract viewers while "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Late Show With David Letterman" have been losing audiences, the show-business newspaper Variety said.
Kimmel, 44, reaches a younger audience than either Letterman, 65, or Leno, 62.
Kimmel -- who recently signed a two-year contract extension with ABC -- is known in the business for bringing a sardonic and subversive sense humor to industry events, Variety said.
He was the emcee of the White House Correspondents Dinner Apr 28 and is to host the Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 23.
When asked by Variety if he would reach out to Leno and Letterman to talk in jest about the new three-way late-night race, Kimmel said: "Jay and I don't have fun conversations. I don't know if it would be appropriate. But I have friends on both of those shows but there is lots of camaraderie among us that many people probably don't know exists."
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