Jimmy Kimmel Hawks Furniture in Chicago

Next Monday, Jimmy Kimmel Live will have a brand new time slot in the third largest media market in the country. With the most recent Sweeps ratings already pointing to strong Chicago numbers, there’s little doubt the talk show host’s move from midnight to 11 p.m. on WLS Channel 7 will pay huge fall dividends.

Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rosenthal chatted with Kimmel ahead of the September 12 Windy City switch and, in the process, reconfirmed that the latter’s everyman persona is no act. For example, Kimmel has already repackaged himself locally with help from an atypical partner:

And then there are the 15-second commercials for the Chicago area’s Walter E. Smithe furniture chain that began airing last week on WLS and other local stations. “This was the first time a celebrity actually came to us to be a part of our campaign,” Tim Smithe, one of the Smithe brothers overseeing the company, said through a spokeswoman.

The late Uncle Frank, to whom Kimmel paid a tearful tribute last night on-air, would no doubt have approved. Ad industry folks quoted in the Rosenthal piece applaud Kimmel’s ability on his show to blend sponsor messages with the old-fashioned framework of an entertainment skit.

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.