ABC Legends Jimmy Kimmel and Ted Koppel Reunite for Pre-Oscars Interview

ABC late-night TV legends Jimmy Kimmel and Ted Koppel reunited earlier this week for an Oscars-focused interview that aired today on CBS Sunday Morning.

At the top of the ten-minute segment, we’re taken to the Jimmy Kimmel Live! writers room, where 21 comedy writers are workshopping jokes for the 96th Academy Awards, which Kimmel is hosting tonight on ABC.

Later in the segment, Koppel sits down exclusively with Kimmel and Molly McNearney, the executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, tonight’s Oscars broadcast ep, and yes, Kimmel’s wife.

McNearney and Kimmel explained their relationship with comedy and one another. McNearney said she is protective of Kimmel “because he is not protective of himself,” adding, “he is much more of a risk taker, and I don’t ever like him getting attacked for anything.” Kimmel responded, “I just want to hear the laugh, it doesn’t really matter how it comes.”

Koppel is later seen in the writers room, observing the creative process. Kimmel asks the newsman if he has any questions for the team. “I can’t think of anything funny to say,” Koppel responded. “That makes 38 of us,” Kimmel quipped. Koppel added that the gathering is reminiscent of “the 6,000 Nightline meetings we had over the years … and just about as funny,” a line which garnered laughs from the room.

While Koppel is currently a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, he’s best known for his 42 years at ABC News, spending the last 25+ as anchor of the network’s late night daily news program, Nightline (1979-2005).

As for Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel Live! debuted on Jan. 26, 2003 on ABC, live after the Super Bowl (much to Koppel’s chagrin). The comedy program originally held the network’s 12:35 a.m. timeslot, airing right after Koppel’s Nightline. The two shows swapped timeslots in 2013, eight years after Koppel had left ABC News.

While their ABC stints only overlapped by two years, and they have very different dispositions, it’s clear from the interview that Kimmel and Koppel have a nice rapport with one another.

Koppel roasted Kimmel in a taped piece which aired at the start of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! 20th anniversary episode, which aired in Jan. 2023. This, after the newsman delivered a similar intro 20 years earlier for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! series premiere: “There will be no special post-Super Bowl edition of Nightline tonight, so that ABC can bring you the following piece of garbage.”

In their one-on-one, Koppel also asked Kimmel about political comedy, with Koppel saying he personally doesn’t feel “Trump supporters have the same passion for the Oscars that they used to have.” Kimmel conceded that statement was probably fair, but added “there are some closet Oscars watchers in that group.” Kimmel said that “90%” of the jokes he tells “will be targeting the left-wing celebrities who they claim to despise but go see all their movies. … You can’t really consider the night a success if nobody’s mad at the end.”

When asked what constitutes a “home run” show, Kimmel responded, “Great monologue, great speeches — you hate to have a predetermined show; and a show that doesn’t feel like it was prepared in a laboratory. It’s always fun when something unexpected happens … I am most comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.”

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