NEW YORK — Just in time for the new TV season, ABC’s latenight “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is testing some gimmicks, as well as securing a sponsorship deal with Sony for the return of an outdoor music stage.
Lenny Kravitz was the first act to try out the Walkman Stage during Monday night’s “Kimmel.” Under terms of the sponsorship, downloads of the “Kimmel” concert series will be available on Sony’s Connect music store.
Concert series will feature 22 musical performances throughout the remainder of the year. A previous outdoor stage for Kimmel’s show was scrubbed due to budget concerns within ABC.
The stage wasn’t the only noticeable difference during Monday’s show. Kimmel, who usually sits during his opening monologue, decided to stand.
Also, the opening featured pictures of guests appearing on the show. ABC execs said Kimmel’s guests don’t always have the widest name recognition, and that showing the pictures might jog a viewer’s memory.
ABC thinks the upcoming bow of the Alphabet’s primetime lineup provides a good opportunity to boost Kimmel’s aud, hence the various tweaks. Also, Kimmel has abandoned the idea of having a different co-host each week.
There’s also an unusual gimmick being planned at NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” On Thursday the entire episode will be an infomercial for two just-released DVDs celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Late Night.”
The special episode, “Incredible Viewables,” is being billed as a parody of an infomercial, but NBC execs are being upfront about the fact that it really is an infomercial.