Kellison defects from ‘Kimmel’ producing post

ABC's Gray to o'see show until replacement found

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” exec producer Daniel Kellison won’t be back when the show enters its second year in January.

Kellison, who created the latenight talker with Kimmel, told his staff Thursday afternoon that he had opted not to extend his contract when it expires at the end of the year.

No permanent replacement has been named. Duncan Gray, ABC’s vice prexy of alternative series, will oversee the show in the interim.

Gray, the No. 2 in the department (under senior VP Andrea Wong), has been the network exec assigned to the show. Kimmel also continues as exec producer.

“Jimmy Kimmel Show,” while a steady performer for ABC, has yet to make a dent in the latenight talkshow wars.

“Kimmel” bowed Jan. 26, following the Super Bowl, to big fanfare and solid numbers. But the show hit a number of snags early on, including a first-night incident that put the kibosh on plans to serve audience members free alcohol.

The talker also had difficulty landing big-name guests in its first several months — including ABC talent, something Kimmel frequently pointed out on the show.

But the show has hit its stride of late, landing more A-list bookings and bringing on a slew of guest co-hosts, from Mr. T and Macy Gray to Jack Osbourne and Shane Mosley.

Season-to-date (Sept. 22-Oct. 12), “Kimmel” has averaged 1.7 million viewers and a 0.7 rating/4 share among adults 18-34 — just three-tenths of a ratings point less than CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.”

Kellison and Kimmel previously worked together on the original incarnation of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show.” Jackhole Industries, the shingle Kellison and Kimmel launched along with fellow “Man Show” ex-pat Adam Corolla, produces “Jimmy Kimmel Live” along with Touchstone TV.

Kellison continues to exec produce Comedy Central’s “Crank Yankers” alongside Corolla and Kimmel. His credits include eight years on “Late Night With David Letterman” and “Late Show With David Letterman.” Kellison also launched “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” as its first exec producer.

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