ABC will stay in the late-night talk game for at least another year or so. The network has picked up “Jimmy Kimmel Live” through 2006.

The show, which has experienced a ratings bump recently, has been on the air for better than 2½ years. Airing after ABC News’ “Nightline” in most of the country – and starting a half-hour later than NBC’s “Tonight Show” and CBS’ “Late Show” – “Jimmy Kimmel Live” averages about 1.5 million viewers per night.

ABC says the show’s ratings for the week of Sept. 5 were its best since late last year in total viewers and adults 18-49.

“ABC is on a roll,” Kimmel says in the standard self-deprecating host comment. “It seemed inevitable they’d do something like this to screw it up.”

Kimmel’s aversions to the contrary notwithstanding, ABC’s Andrea Wong calls the renewal “an easy decision to make.”

“The show continues to grow creatively, and Jimmy is at the top of his game right now, delivering a hilarious show night after night,” says Wong, the network’s head of alternative programming and late night. “We’re thrilled he will continue to be part of ABC’s current and future success.”


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