LOS ANGELES – Ben Affleck might be history. Jimmy Kimmel is trying for video magic with someone else to mark the 1,000th episode of his late-night talk show Thursday.
"This morning I woke up with Richard Simmons in my bedroom for something we're preparing for the show. I don't want to give too many details, but suffice it to say that Sam Elliot and Richard Simmons were hovering over me," Kimmel told The Associated Press earlier this week.
Whether the taped bit can top Kimmel's video duel with girlfriend Sarah Silverman remains to be seen. Kimmel himself marvels at the online popularity of the comic films, one in which Silverman and Matt Damon sing of their faux hot love affair and the other with Kimmel striking back by claiming a romance with Damon's pal Affleck.
Last time Kimmel checked, he said, 25 million people had viewed the videos online. "I guess this Internet is useful for something other than pornography," he said.
There's a chance Silverman might contribute to the 90-minute "Jimmy Kimmel Live" anniversary special, airing at 11:35 p.m. EDT Thursday on ABC (a half-hour ahead of its usual start time). Eva Longoria Parker and Kid Rock are among the scheduled guests.
"I'm aware there are plans being laid I'm not supposed to know about," Kimmel said. He has mixed feelings about a possible surprise, he said, "but it usually works out OK."
Kimmel recalled his early ambitions for the show.
"When I started, I said I won't stand up and do a monologue, I won't wear a tie. ... Most of that didn't work out," he said, and the show ended up reverting to "tried and true" conventions.
But he prides himself on bringing his own twists to the format, such as showcasing unexpected talent like the parking lot guard who has become a show staple.
"No one is too small to put on TV. If someone makes us all laugh around the office, then they'll make the audience laugh, too," he said.
The late-night scene is facing upheaval in 2009, when NBC has said Jay Leno will turn "Tonight" over to Conan O'Brien. There has been speculation that ABC might make a bid for Leno and fit him into its late-night lineup.
Does Kimmel ponder how that scenario might affect him?
"I try not to worry about it too much," he said. "It seems like every year something like that comes up. I used to obsess about it. ... But five years later, we're still here."
He attributes that to dedication, among other factors.
"We've been on long enough and proven that we can put a pretty good show on. That's pretty rare, when you look around. It takes a combination of things to be a talk show host — one is being a good host and committing your life to that completely."
No one is good enough to do the job just by breezing in, he said, pointing to Chevy Chase's short-lived 1993 talk show as a cautionary tale.
But if Kimmel finds himself hit by fallout from late-night's coming changes, he's ready.
"I'm planning to open a bait and tackle shop," he quipped.