Jimmy Kimmel visited the WSB headquarters in Atlanta on Monday to celebrate superb ratings and an upcoming new time slot.
The show grew its overall audience by 3 percent in total viewers during the 2011-12 broadcast season, its most-watched in five years, according to an announcement from Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group. It was the only late-night broadcast talk show to grow year over year in total viewers, the announcement reported.
Beginning Jan. 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” moves to 11:35 p.m. weeknights, following Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat with Jovita Moore and Justin Farmer at 11 p.m.
“As strong as the ratings are nationwide, the strongest ratings for Jimmy Kimmel are right here in Atlanta,” said Tim McVay, vice president and general manager of Channel 2 WSB-TV, who introduced Kimmel during a private reception.
Kimmel posed for pictures after a few remarks.
“I feel like we’re ready,” he said of the upcoming new time slot. “I feel like we’ll succeed.”
The avid cook said he was glad to be back in Atlanta.
“I learned to make smoked chicken wings here!” he said before inviting guests to pose with him for photos next to the Christmas tree in WSB’s lobby.
“Like Santa Claus, you can jump on my lap. If you’re naughty enough, you can get what you want,” he joked.
During a quick exchange we asked him about, what else? Honey Boo Boo. The 7-year-old beauty queen “endorsed” President Barack Obama during a visit to Kimmel’s show before the election.
“It didn’t hurt,” Kimmel said of Alana Thompson’s presidential nod. “Every endorsement helps.”
Kimmel’s show is funny but not exclusively silly. He’s made headlines with segments that discuss politics, in one case sending crews to ask people to rate presidential debates that hadn’t happened yet.
“Sometimes the show is smart,” he said. “We don’t feel compelled to focus on serious topics though. I approach the show like I approach hanging out with my friends. Sometimes the things we talk about are very dumb. Occasionally we are accidentally smart.”
But his stunning ratings didn’t just happen.
“We work very hard,” he said.