Jimmy Kimmel Hints at the End of His Late Night Show: 'I Think This Is My Final Contract'

After 21 years on the air, Jimmy Kimmel recently revealed that he's thinking about life after late night.

In January 2003, Jimmy Kimmel Live debuted, led by a fresh faced newcomer to the late night landscape. Now, 21 years later, Jimmy Kimmel has been serving as a late night talk show host for longer than any other host currently on the air, and he's looking toward his own future, and teasing the end of his ABC talk show.

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Kimmel reflected on his success as a host, and admitted, "I'm as surprised as anyone could be in this position -- even to have a really good job is a surprise to me."

However, Kimmel has admitted in the past that he's toyed with the idea of hanging up his hosting shoes. He said as much during an episode of Strike Force Five, the podcast started by Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Seth Meyers during the recent WGA and SAG strikes.

While Kimmel said during the podcast that the strikes made him realize how much he loves hosting JKL, the comic admitted to the L.A. Times that he's found his motivation for doing the show has diminished.

"It's hard to yearn for it when you're doing it," said Kimmel -- who has the added professional challenge of hosting this year's Oscars ceremony once more. "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,'" Kimmel continued. "But then, I take the summer off or I go on strike, and you start going, 'Yeah, I miss the fun stuff.'"

That being said, Kimmel still expressed, "I think this is my final contract."

"I hate to even say it, because everyone’s laughing at me now," he told the outlet. "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 went on to say that he doesn't know exactly what his life will look like after Jimmy Kimmel Live! comes to an end, but he feels he'll keep himself busy -- even if it's just with personal projects.

"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."

Kimmel also said that, despite being a talk show host for over two decades and hosting the Oscars multiple times, he has never had a drive to be the star or the center of attention.

"If you think about it, I did everything I could to avoid being the sole guy," he said. "I love being involved in other people’s projects. I never had an urge to be the center of attention, and I still don’t. It’s not in my DNA."

As such, he thinks he likely won't be doing what so many other comics-turned-hosts do after ending their shows.

"I won't be doing stand-up after I stop doing the [talk] show -- I am uncomfortable with it," Kimmel said. "I don't like my birthday. I love being a team player."

Kimmel's comments on Strike Force Five came during the first episode, titled, "Five Late Night Hosts Talk at the Same Time for the First Time." 

"As you know, I was very intent on retiring right around the time where the strike started," Kimmel told his co-hosts. "And now I realize, 'Oh yeah, it's kinda nice to work.' When you are working, you think about not working."

Meyers chimed in, calling Kimmel the "Tom Brady of late-night" because of his thoughts about retirement without officially going through with them.

"I'm Tom Brady without any rings or any fingers," Kimmel quipped.


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