Competing with late-night TV's heavyweights is no mean feat, but wise guy Jimmy Kimmel is giving it his all. Here, ABC's midnight talker tells TV Guide Online his big plans for more musical guests, his revamped concert stage and why all his guests should maintain their hygiene.
TV Guide Online: Tonight, you're bringing back your show's outdoor concert stage. Why did it disappear?
Jimmy Kimmel: We lost it for a while because it was too expensive to do, but I'm happy it's back. It's something that sets us apart from the other celebrity chat shows. It should be good; we've got Lenny Kravitz performing.
TVGO: Any downside to having bands on the show?
Kimmel: Well, we ask all our guests to bathe before they come on, and with bands, they only do it about 50 percent of the time. We had Slipknot on the other night — sounded good, didn't smell good.
TVGO: Who have been some of the past musical acts you liked?
Kimmel: Foo Fighters, No Doubt, Snoop Dogg and my personal favorite, Huey Lewis and the News.
TVGO: Name a favorite nonmusical moment from the show.
Kimmel: Mike Tyson and I sucked helium together. That was a very strange and seemingly dangerous moment.
TVGO: What about some not-so-hot moments?
Kimmel: Monica Lewinsky wasn't a great guest. She had no interest in talking about President Clinton, and that leaves you with [her line of] handbags. There is only so much you can say about handbags. And the guy who talks to dead people, John Edward — let's just say he's no Robin Williams.
TVGO: I hear you've been hanging out with Howard Stern.
Kimmel: Yeah, we've just hit it off. We vacationed together last Christmas and spent most of our time playing Scrabble and gin. Two real wild men.
TVGO: Do you watch your competition?
Kimmel: I'm a huge Letterman fan and I was just thinking today, no matter how long I do this, I will never be as good as him. The secret to being a good talk-show host is to make it look easy, and I'm always working on that.
TVGO: You think you're getting better?
Kimmel: When I started out, we would have some funny moments throughout the week, but now we have consistent shows and some of them are good. It gets better as you go along, but what can I say, I'm pretty hard on myself.