Matt Damon is not a scheduled guest on Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live. As if the guy couldn't take a hint from the first five years.
Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Damon-dissing late-night show, turns 1,000 episodes old Thursday, a milestone that eluded numerous night-owl programs of the past, from Joan Rivers' Late Show to self-titled efforts from Chevy Chase, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Merv Griffin.
"There were a lot of people who didn't think we'd get this milestone," Kimmel told reporters Tuesday. "In fact, there are still some people who don't think we'll make it to Thursday."
ABC, for one, seems confident. It has given Nightline the night off, and awarded its half-hour to Kimmel.
The first-ever 90-minute Jimmy Kimmel Live (beginning a half-hour earlier than usual, at 11:35 p.m.) is set to feature Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria Parker, Kid Rock and shorty-shorts champion Richard Simmons. Unspecified "celebrity cameos and surprises" are also promised.
If one of the cameos turns out to be Damon, it wouldn't mark the first time the Oscar winner has been on the show.
Although the actor—according to a running gag—is bumped from the show just about every night, he did appear on the Kimmel stage in 2006, albeit briefly. (As soon as Damon sat down, Kimmel announced he was out of time.)
Most famously, Damon appeared this past winter via a music video by Kimmel's comedian girlfriend Sarah Silverman. The clip—its title cannot be relayed in polite company, although suffice to say it suggests that Silverman is rather fond of Damon—generated more than 10 million views on YouTube.
Kimmel kept the buzzmeter going with his own unmentionable video. On YouTube, the top two versions of, um, "I'm F--king Ben Affleck," costarring Affleck, Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford, have been viewed a combined 9 million times.
Ratingswise, Jimmel Kimmel Live, which premiered Jan. 26, 2003, is holding its own. So far during this strike-afflicted season, the show is averaging 1.7 million viewers. That's about what it did during its tie-eschewing first season, and that's about what it was doing a year ago at this time. Of the other broadcast network late-night comedy shows, Jimmy Kimmel Live is the only one that's not down double digits—the top-dog Tonight Show, for one, is down a whopping 20 percent.
Jimmy Kimmel executive producer Jill Leiderman told the Hollywood Reporter that A-listers, such as Ford and Pitt, are becoming easier to book. "Those people weren't coming on before," she said. "And I think a large part of that is just word of mouth on who Jimmy is and what he delivers on a nightly basis."
Kimmel told reporters he's trying not to worry about what next year's looming late-night shakeup will mean to him and his show: Will Conan O'Brien, as promised, really, truly take over The Tonight Show? If so, will the displaced Jay Leno start a new show elsewhere? And if he does so on ABC, where will that leave Kimmel?
"It seems like every year something like that comes up. I used to obsess about it," Kimmel said. "But five years later, we're still here."