Beloved television personality and comedian, Jimmy Kimmel is set to take a sabbatical this summer from his ABC late-night series, which he first started hosting nearly 18 years ago. Announcing on Thursday that he will be stepping away from Jimmy Kimmel Live! starting July 6 to spend more time with his family, the 52-year-old revealed his break will last all the way through September, when he hosts the Emmy Awards, according to Variety. In the meantime, the show will be taken over by a number of guest hosts.
"There's nothing wrong, I'm healthy, my family's healthy, I just need a couple of months off," Kimmel said, reassuring fans of his actions and revealing he's done 3,130 shows since first starting in 2003. Although there are no specific details about who will be stepping in during his break from the series, ABC has promised a "cavalcade of very kind and capable people will be filling in."
This is not the first time Kimmel has taken a brief break from his show. In 2017, the father-of-two took time off when his son, Billy, was born with congenital heart disease and had to undergo multiple open-heart surgeries. During that time, stars like, Melissa McCarthy, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Shaquille O'Neal, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris and Channing Tatum hosted.
The hiatus for Kimmel comes fresh off the heels of ongoing demonstrations in the U.S. protesting racial inequality, police brutality and injustice, as social media digs up past skits of both Kimmel and his NBC rival, Jimmy Fallon taking part in blackface sketches on their respective shows, The Man Show and Saturday Night Live. On a 2000 episode of SNL, Fallon painted his face to look like the show's alum, Chris Rock, while Kimmel painted his face to portray multiple characters on The Man Show, which aired from 1999 to 2004. One sketch that has been recurring on social media is of him parodying NBA player, Karl Malone.
Fallon has since apologized, using The Tonight Show to discuss issues of race and racism with Derrick Johnson, the president and chief executive of the NAACP, as well as CNN anchor Don Lemon and anti-racism educator, Jane Elliott. "I had to really examine myself in the mirror this week because a story came out about me on SNL doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface," he said on June 1. "And I was horrified. Not of people trying to 'cancel' me or cancel this show, which is scary enough. The thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person? I respect this guy more than I respect most humans. I'm not a racist. I don't feel this way."
He continued: "I realized that I can't not say I'm horrified and I'm sorry and I'm embarrassed. I realized that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something. We need to keep saying something. And we need to stop saying 'That's not OK' more than just one day on Twitter."
I forgot Jimmy Kimmel did blackface back in the days of the man show his Carl Malone bit lmao pic.twitter.com/68PTVcQzrd— 🅹🆄🅻🅴🆂 Ⓥ CV7L-19🦁🦁🦁🦁🦁🦁🦁 (@KingJuIes) May 8, 2020
As of now, Kimmel has not addressed his own controversy, but with Thursday's show now being his last for quite some time, he will likely not do so on his program for many months. Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC, check your local listings. For up to the minute news on Kimmel, Fallon and all your favorite comedians and stars, stick to PopCulture.com for more!