Jimmy Kimmel ‘Thinks’ He’ll Retire in 2026: ‘That Seems Like Enough’

Are we nearing the end of Jimmy Kimmel’s long run in late night? Kimmel thinks so, but ABC needn’t start planning his retirement party just yet.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Tuesday morning, Kimmel said he’s seriously considering stepping down in 2026. Of course, like Johnny Carson and David Letterman before him, he’s said as much in the past and ultimately chosen to re-up for another few years.

Discussing his preparations for his fourth stint as Academy Awards host, Kimmel told the Times, “Wednesday night, I was very tired and I had all these scripts to go through — I had to revise and rewrite all these pitch ideas for the Oscars — and I was literally nodding off onto my computer. In those moments, I think, ‘I cannot wait until my contract is over.’ But then, I take the summer off or I go on strike, and you start going, ‘Yeah, I miss the fun stuff.’”

Still, he said, “I think this is my final contract. I hate to even say it, because everyone’s laughing at me now — each time I think that, and then it turns out to be not the case. I still have a little more than two years left on my contract, and that seems pretty good. That seems like enough.”

The late-night host signed his latest contract with ABC in 2022, which keeps him attached to his show through the 2025-2026 season. At the time, he joked “After two decades at ABC, I am now looking forward to three years of what they call ‘quiet quitting.’”

Kimmel is one of late night’s longest tenured hosts. This May he’ll surpass Jay Leno, who hosted The Tonight Show for 22 years. Only Conan O’Brien (who spent 28 years in late night), Johnny Carson (30 years), and David Letterman (33 years) have hosted shows longer.

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