As far as Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich is concerned, Jimmy Kimmel can keep his late-night slot until the end of time. Or at least for “as many seasons as he wants to be on the air.”
“Jimmy is the king of late night,” Erwich told reporters Thursday during his executive session panel at ABC’s first of two days of presentations at the virtual Television Critics Association’s winter press tour.
In May 2019, Kimmel signed a deal to keep “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” going at ABC for three more years, bringing it to at least its current 20th season. But a new deal extension for the show, which has been on since 2003, has been announced yet.
“He’s the longest-running late-night show host on the air,” Erwich added. “We will have a Jimmy for as many seasons as he wants to be on the air. His tribute to Bob Saget last night was a great example of just the unique talent that Jimmy is. It was both funny and heart-warming. I thought it was really a beautiful and very touching speech. We love Jimmy, not just as host, but as a producer. He was obviously behind ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience.'”
As for Kimmel’s other projects at ABC, Erwich has no concrete updates on more episodes of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” reboot, which is hosted by Kimmel, and future installments of Kimmel and Norman Lear’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” which aired its “Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes” specials in December.
“I don’t have anything to share right now on additional episodes of ‘Millionaire,'” Erwich said. “‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ was one of the highlights of the year for ABC, and also for me personally. It reminded me of why I got into television. Being there that night was so fun, it was such a great moment. I think it was exactly what the audience needed. I thought Kevin Hart and Jennifer Aniston, among many, were so inspired. The show was so funny. I know there are more versions of ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ ahead of us. I’m excited for when Jimmy and Norman are ready to discuss more. But we’re certainly open to more.”
Erwich also won’t confirm — or deny — if Kimmel will be the host of this year’s Academy Awards, which Erwich said Thursday will once again have a host after three years without an emcee.
Though Kimmel has had the Oscars gig multiple times in the past, Erwich avoided the direct question about him taking it on for the 2022 ceremony: “We don’t have any details to share on the host right now.”
On the Hulu side of Erwich’s job, the exec said during his panel that there is not yet a debut date set for the second season of Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short’s “Only Murders in the Building,” which is Hulu’s most-watched comedy series ever — including library content. However, the second season is in production and Erwich had nothing but good things to say about where the murder-mystery is going.
“We don’t have a premiere date yet for Season 2,” he said. “I can tell you I’ve read the first six or seven scripts, and the material is terrific. I think it’s as good as it was last year and it builds on the incredible storytelling that Dan [Fogelman] and [John] Hoffman did.”