"Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC's late night comedy program, will move its daily broadcast from midnight to 11:35 in January, the network announced Tuesday. This will put the comedy show in direct competition with late night heavy-hitters "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Show with David Letterman." The New York Times was first to report the news.

Kimmel's show will move to the time slot currently occupied by "Nightline," which will go to 12:35.

The comedian told HuffPost via email, "I am excited, honored, and grateful to ABC for this strong vote of confidence, inexplicable as it may be."

Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement, “Given the passionate fan base 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move."

Indeed, Kimmel's star has steadily risen over the last few years. Since launching his show to little fanfare in 2003, he has built a program that incorporates familiar talk show elements along with user-submitted videos that frequently become Internet hits.

His mainstream acceptance has been cemented by a well-received turn hosting the White House Correspondent's Dinner, and an upcoming gig hosting the Emmys. His show also earned its first Emmy nomination for Best Variety Show this year.

This move will represent the first time that a major challenge has been presented to "The Tonight Show" or "Late Show" in quite some time. When Conan O'Brien left "Tonight" in 2010 after seven months on the job, ABC was clear to vocalize that they were uninterested in nabbing O'Brien as an 11:30 lead-in to Kimmel, stating that they were happy with "Nightline" at 11:30. This left Fox as the only major network to woo O'Brien, and the two parties were unable to reach an agreement. O'Brien eventually went to TBS.

This leaves Kimmel, 44, as the youngest and edgiest host of a network late night show. Letterman, 65, and Leno, 62, have been hosting their respective shows for roughly two decades.

While both shows perform well (although ratings in the time slot have declined across all networks), the two lions of late night have begun to show cracks. Leno's show cut 20 jobs last week as a result of Comcast and NBC troubles.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Generic Republican Candidate

    Voters in 12 swing states would rather vote for a generic Republican candidate than vote for Obama.

  • Jimmy Talks To Rick Santorum's Brother

    Jimmy talks to L. Brent Santorum about his brother's concession.

  • Literal Romney Ad

    Jimmy changed the narration to make Romney's ad slightly more literal.

  • Jimmy Talks To Kids About Politics

    Jimmy gets the point of view of children on politics.

  • Jimmy Talks To Kids About Politics II

    Jimmy goes back to school to hear what the kids have to say about politics.

  • Jimmy Outsources Chris Christie Jokes

    Jimmy gets some outsourced jokes from a call center in India.

  • Conservative Spin On Obama Ad

    Jimmy puts a slight conservative spin on an Obama ad.

  • Michelle Bachmann's Story Of America

    Michelle Bachmann is working on an educational film to teach kids about American history.

  • Jimmy Outsources Herman Cain Jokes

    Jimmy gets some help writing Herman Cain jokes from an Indian call center.