Jimmy Kimmel has made no bones about his feelings for Jay Leno. In a new interview, he recently commented, "As a comedian, you can't not have disdain for what he's done. He totally sold out."
Kimmel is one of the four late-night TV hosts who is trying to make a name for himself in a very competitive time slot. He criticized Leno for making the decision to stay with NBC and host "The Tonight Show" instead of pursuing a different interest.
He has a great deal of respect for David Letterman though, who is Leno's main rival in the late night ratings race. Letterman and Leno battled for the spot previously held by late-night legend Johnny Carson, with Leno taking the spot on NBC and Letterman moving to CBS. It was a huge battle that soured relations between the networks and the comedians.
Leno, Kimmel told Rolling Stone, "was a master chef who opened a Burger King. If I beat David Letterman in the ratings, does that mean I'm better than Letterman? No [expletive] way."
It seems that Leno is the only target of Kimmel's disdain. He and Jimmy Fallon have a friendly relationship and respect one another as comedians and as TV hosts.
"People are going to compare me and him for years to come – we're being positioned as the Leno and Letterman of the next round. I like it because he's a very worthy competitor," Kimmel said.
He previously got his start working as a co-host of "The Man Show" and "Win Ben Stein's Money" on Comedy Central. He was tapped to host his own show on ABC, jumping into the arena with Leno and Letterman. Since then, he has had a whole host of successes with mock music videos and having the celebrities voted off of "Dancing With the Stars" appearing on his show immediately after the eviction.
Kimmel's show moves to 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC next week.