TV critic Tom Shales is not happy with the decision by ABC to switch the time slots around for Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel and Nightline. In the central time zone, Kimmel will now be on at 10:35 and Nightline will be on, in most markets, at 11:35. Shales calls the move, insulting not only "Nightline's staff and all of ABC News, but insulting viewers as well." Shales refers to the venerable news program, in its current time slot, up against late night talk shows on the major broadcast networks as, "distinctive." His harshest words are for the host, Kimmel and his show as, "wan, anemic copies of the competition."
Nightline has been a part of the programming landscape since 1979 when it debuted as America Held Hostage and provided updates on the continuing crisis of the American embassy staff in Iran being held hostage.
Kimmel and Nightline are available in the Fargo-Grand Forks-Moorhead market on channels 6 and 8. The ABC stations WDAY/Z had been airing an infomercial between Nightline and Kimmel, and have just reversed the positions of the two shows, and keeping the infomercial. So, that means that fans of Nightline will have to wait 90 minutes to see the show in its current time slot.
The move, however, appears to be working, thus far, for ABC. In its new time slot, Kimmel has edged close to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Kimmel got 3.1 million viewers to Leno's 3.2 million. Kimmel surged ahead of The Late Show with David Letterman, which got 2.8 million viewers in contrast to Kimmel's viewership in the new time slot.
Nightline is currently beating the competition in its new time slot. it got larger audiences than both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
There does not seem to be any breakout data for stations that delay Nightline further.
So, despite Shales' criticisms of the move, it appears to be a winning for ABC.
For late night viewers, here's a look at WDAY/Z's late night line up from after the late local news until sign off:
10:35 PM - JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE
11:38 PM - INFOMERCIAL
12:08 AM - NIGHTLINE
12:38 AM - THE INSIDER
1:08 AM - LATE LOCAL NEWS ENCORE
1:43 AM - DISH NATION
2:13 AM - NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE
2:43 AM - EXCUSED
3:13 AM - JUDGE JOE BROWN
3:43 AM - SIGN OFF