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Kimmel Will Get Pre-Emmy Close-Up

In the latest sign of its commitment to building Jimmy Kimmel into a franchise, ABC will air another primetime special from the late-night host, this time on Emmy night. The network will air Jimmy Kimmel's Big Night of Stars on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. on both coasts, leading into the primetime Emmys.

ABC has aired Kimmel primetime specials around big events ranging from award shows to the NBA Finals. And on two of those specials, Kimmel's show received a new level of buzz, thanks to comedic taped pieces that exploded on YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet. The first of these featured ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon in a fictional affair, followed by a Kimmel-Ben Affleck video spoof of a similar nature.

The pre-Emmy show this year is leaning more heavily on a star-studded lineup, and will take place mostly out of the studio. The special will be introduced by ABC's Barbara Walters, and then feature chats with Ryan Seacrest, Tracy Morgan, Salma Hayek and Olympic golden boy Michael Phelps.

Other appearances are expected to include Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, Kobe Bryant, William Shatner and Rachael Ray. Kimmel will then be seen again later that night; he's an Emmy presenter.

ABC's commitment to Kimmel comes as many industry insiders continue to expect Jay Leno to end up hosting a late-night show on ABC at 11:35 in 2010, when he is contractually freed from NBC. At that point Kimmel, who has seen his stock rise significantly in recent years, could end up following Leno at 12:35 a.m. (30 minutes later than he is on in many markets) or potentially jump to another network.