×

Ben Stein reflects on Kimmel’s ‘Money’ days

'Jimmy Kimmel Live' @ 10

Jimmy Kimmel co-hosted Comedy Central gameshow “Win Ben Stein’s Money” from 1997-2000, leaving before the series ended in 2003. Stein, a former aide to President Nixon, actor and current contributor on “CBS Sunday Morning,” competed against contestants in a battle of wits. He talked about his experiences working with Kimmel. The two remain close friends.

“We brought him as our first audition and we knew we didn’t have to see anyone else after that.”

“I’ll tell you something incredibly kind that he once did. I remember it was the second or third season and I was having a slump and Jimmy was being interviewed about me. He said, ‘Ben is like a wonderful baseball slugger who is in a slump but always comes back.’ He has always been a wonderful friend. We still email about four times a week.”

“We all knew Jimmy was a genius long before we were on the air. I told him once he was destined be a latenight talkshow host and he said it was his goal too.”

“We had made several hundred episodes of ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money’ when he said he wanted to do ‘The Man Show.’ He made the pilot for NBC but they passed. I brought the pilot to Comedy Central and they said it was a natural for them.”

“Last year a disgruntled former makeup person who we both know said fictitious things about me. Jimmy said he would be happy to help out any way he could. He’s wonderfully kind and very smart. He has a certain kind of empathy for people that not many others have.”

“Years and years ago when I was in high school, I saw JFK give a speech in the 1960 presidential campaign. I said at the time that Kennedy had these lights in him. That’s Jimmy.”

“I remember many years ago having a conversation with Michael Eisner’s lawyer and he said ABC was looking for latenight talkshow host. I told them Jimmy is the guy who can connect with a young audience. I called Eisner and said this is the guy you should have. He called me back a long time later and said, ‘Ben, you saw it first.'”

Jimmy Kimmel Live @ 10
Midnight maven Kimmel moves up | Top moments on ‘JKL’ | Kimmel doesn’t get caught up in ratings race | Eric Stonestreet on Kimmel | Ben Stein on Kimmel | KROQ DJ Bean on Kimmel | Politics, Primetime Emmys just part of busy year
Watch Jimmy Kimmel receive his star on the Walk of Fame

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Steven Knight

    BBC Orders Steven Knight Drama Series ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’

    The BBC has ordered “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” which is being adapted by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” from Ben Macintyre’s book. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series is being produced by Kudos, whose [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content