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Jimmy Kimmel Teases Possible Retirement From Late-Night TV

Jimmy Kimmel
Disney/Randy Holmes

For 21 years, Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been a staple of the late-night television lineup. That may soon change, however, with host Jimmy Kimmel teasing his retirement in a new interview.

“I think this is my final contract,” Kimmel, 56, told the Los Angeles Times in an article published on Tuesday, February 20. “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.”

Kimmel is currently the longest-tenured late-night host, having debuted on ABC in January 2003. As he said, this is not the first time her has thought about hanging it up. The two-time Primetime Emmy winner previously revealed on his “Strike Force Five” podcast that he considered retirement prior to the Writer’s Guild of America strike.

“Now I realize, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s kinda nice to work,’” he reflected on his podcast last year as the strike forced him and his fellow late-night hosts to the sidelines.

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His cohost Seth Meyers joked that Kimmel is the Tom Brady of late night, a nod to both Brady and Kimmel’s frequent flirtations with retirement.

So, if Kimmel does indeed retire in two years when his contract expires, what will his post-late-night life entail? He doesn’t know for sure, but don’t be surprised if Kimmel spends it out of the public eye. Kimmel took some time to imagine what the future, non-late-night host version of himself looks like.

“He speaks Italian, he plays the harmonica beautifully,” he said. “He is an expert fly-fisherman. He does all these different things that I know I’m not actually going to do. He’s drawn some graphic novels that were very well-received. He’s very busy — it’s funny, whenever I think of what I’m going to do when I stop working, it all involves more work.”

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It comes from a desire for Kimmel to do it all — something he admits is impossible.

“I have a lot of hobbies – I love to cook, I love to draw, I imagine myself learning to do sculptures,” Kimmel said. “I know that when I die, if I’m fortunate enough to die on my own terms in my own bed, I’m going to think, ‘Oh, I was never able to get to this, and I was never able to get to that.’ I just know it about myself.”

But that’s for the future. Kimmel will be 58 when his contract expires, and he has not said definitively that he will retire at that point. He still has some time to figure it all out.



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