In a rare appearance as a guest on another late night talk show, David Letterman netted Jimmy Kimmel Live its highest-rated Wednesday ever.
Drawing 2.35 million viewers, Letterman's visit drew the largest overall audience for a Wednesday show since Jimmy Kimmel Live debuted on ABC in 2003. Most importantly, 985,000 of those viewers were adults between the ages of 18–49, marking Kimmel's best performance in that key demographic on any night since June 19, 2010, and the best Wednesday since October 24, 2007. Previously, the show broadcast after the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006, held the most impressive overall Wednesday rating at 2.305 million.
Broadcasting from the Harvey Theater in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, this week, Jimmy Kimmel Live was forced to cancel on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy and delivered a raucous outing with Howard Stern and Tracy Morgan on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Kimmel's lifelong dream came true when his hero and idol, David Letterman, made his first visit to JKL.
Noting during the interview that the Ed Sullivan Theater—where CBS's The Late Show is taped—is only seven miles away, Letterman doesn't frequent an abundance of talk shows and at times, he appeared genuinely uncomfortable to be on the other side of the desk. He also seemed unsure of how to handle Jimmy's hero worship, including pictures of a Late Night With David Letterman birthday cake he had as a kid and a "L8NITE" vanity license plate from when he was a teenager.
Displaying the class and grace hidden beneath his sarcastic and bitter shell, Letterman eventually thanked Kimmel for his kind words and seemed surprised that he had inspired anyone. At the end of the lengthy interview, Letterman congratulated Kimmel for being promoted to 11:30 PM in January from his current midnight timeslot and wished him the best of luck.
If you're like me and forgot to set the DVR to record the show, you can watch the interview in five chopped-up pieces starting below.
While people might criticize Kimmel's gushing or Letterman's antisocial responses, this had to be an odd situation for both guys. Nevertheless, there is an underlying respect between them that is good to see. I don't think Jimmy should hold his breath waiting for Dave to come to one of his parties, though.