ABC News President Ben Sherwood announced the upcoming change in ABC’s late-night and primetime schedule in the following email to the news division staff:
I’m writing to let you know about changes the network is making in late night and primetime.
ABC believes it has a stronger growth opportunity in late night if Jimmy Kimmel Live precedes Nightline, so starting January 8th, Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel Live will switch time periods. Nightline is moving to 12:35 a.m. ET, and JKL will take over at 11:35 p.m.
In this new arrangement Nightline will expand in length to fill the half hour, and, significantly, the Nightline team will also produce an additional hour every week in primetime on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. beginning March 1st.
With its success and growth, What Would You Do? will also find a new home on the schedule.
As you all know, growth is a primary objective of ABC and our news division. In the last year the network has supported our important growth initiatives through the Yahoo! digital deal and our innovative joint venture with Univision and has helped us achieve the resurgence we’re enjoying at Good Morning America. And the network remains fully supportive of our strategy to win the present and future of news and information.
I know you’ll have many questions, and we’ll answer them in smaller groups starting today.
For now, it’s important to note that Nightline has proven its ability to grow over three decades on the air with the show currently enjoying some of its highest ratings and best editorial work ever. The Nightline team will now bring its excellent journalism to new time periods, and we especially welcome the chance to produce an hour every Friday in primetime, where new audiences will be introduced to the program’s signature storytelling, interviewing and investigations.
These changes take effect 20 weeks from now, and until then, Nightline remains in its existing time slot with a lot of important work to do, including covering two conventions, four debates and a presidential election. Our viewers are counting on us to deliver the exceptional journalism that has always defined Nightline.
Next year, when these changes are implemented, I’m confident that our loyal viewers will stay with Nightline, and its immensely talented anchors, correspondents and staff will enjoy many successes for years to come.