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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
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