Jimmy Kimmel Says Trump Jokes Cost Him Fans, Was Prepared To Quit If ABC Demanded A Cease-Fire

Jimmy Kimmel says he lost half his fanbase when he began making pointedly critical jokes about Donald Trump, and that he was prepared to quit Jimmy Kimmel Live! if ABC execs demanded he go easy on the then-president.

“Ten years ago, among Republicans, I was the most popular talk show host,” Kimmel said this week on the Phil Rosenthal-David Wild podcast Naked Lunch. “At least according to the research they did.”

Kimmel said on the podcast that ABC execs “hinted at” their concern around the time at “the beginning of this whole Trump thing.”

“I said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, I understand, I don’t begrudge you for it, but I’m not going to do that. If you want someone else to host the show, that’s fine with me. I’m just not going to do it like that,’” Kimmel said on the podcast.

Despite his status as a one-time favorite of some Republican viewers, Kimmel would eventually become one of Trump’s most vociferous critics among the late-night comedy crowd. Despite the network’s previous concern, Kimmel renewed his ABC deal earlier this year, with his current contract running through 2023.

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