Jimmy Kimmel producer has Chicago TV roots

January 8, 2013 2:42:00 PM PST
Jimmy Kimmel Live makes the move to 10:35 p.m. right after ABC7 News at 10, starting Tuesday night, January 8.

ABC7's Janet Davies went to Hollywood to meet the woman behind some of the most popular men of late night, including Kimmel, and she started her TV career right here in Chicago.

Jill Leiderman has been at the helm of the Kimmel show for six and a half years and it was Regis Philbin who first got her together with Kimmel. She's got a new time slot, a new husband and an all-consuming work ethic.

Leiderman has "gone Hollywood" in the best possible way and she's making her hometown proud. She's the leading lady at the helm of late night's hip, irreverent pulpit.

"I love being behind the scenes. I love using everything I have to rally the troops, and really getting us all doing the best work we possibly can and helping Jimmy to shine," she said.

Here's how it all started: The daughter of veteran Chicago broadcaster Mike Leiderman, Jill was only 12 years old and hosting her own TV show, Kidding Around.

"That little girl is now our executive producer Jill Leiderman. She's not 'kidding around' anymore," Kimmel said.

The future TV titan flirted with more face time at Northwestern.

She graduated to Jon Stewart and then fell for the late shift with Letterman and dreams coming true after dark.

"I love late night to the core," Leiderman said. "I love it. I love watching Johnny Carson. David Letterman is my hero and I got the chance to work with Jon Stewart right out of college and then David Letterman for almost a decade."

"Everywhere I've been I run into people who used to work for me," Letterman told Jimmy Kimmel during his appearance on the show.

"We're taking your secondhand stuff, what can I say?" said Kimmel.

"Not second-hand," said Letterman, "You got the prime, my friend."

"I love coming to work every day," says Leiderman. "I can't wait to get in, I can't wait experiencing the day."

"Jill is the kind of person, if you send her an e-mail at 3 a.m., she will send you a response at 3:02 a.m.," Kimmel said. "I don't know how she does it. I don't think she sleeps. All she thinks about is me, which is great news for her new husband."

"We get a shot every night to put on a great show, with people we genuinely enjoy being with, who really are there to support Jimmy and keep doing it for 44 weeks a year," Leiderman said. "It's a dream job, it's truly a dream job."