Jimmy Kimmel Live! fined for Donald Trump sketch

Jimmy Kimmel (ABC/Randy Holmes)
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC/Randy Holmes) /

A bit mocking President Donald Trump has proven to be costly for Jimmy Kimmel Live! and ABC.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been a leading voice speaking out against President Donald Trump in late night. Now that effort has come with a financial cost.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced a $395,000 fine against the show for inappropriately using the emergency alert system tones in a sketch. The ABC network will be paying the fine on behalf of its lone late night show.

According to guidelines, the use of the emergency tones is only authorized for actual emergencies, authorized tests or qualified public service announcements. A late night comedy sketch does not qualify.

The sketch in question came during an Oct. 2018 sketch in which Jimmy Kimmel was mocking President Trump’s test of a national emergency alert sent directly to Americans’ cell phones. Just about every late night show had fun with the Trump warning system but only Kimmel went so far as to use the EAS tones.

Kimmel used the tones to interrupt his Oct. 3 episode to broadcast mock “emergency” announcements from President Trump. These included a request for Diet Coke and a disparaging comment on recycling.

That wasn’t all Kimmel had when it came to ridiculing the President’s text alert system. He also showed off a trailer for a disaster movie inspired by Trump’s tweets and texts.

All in all, the fine won’t exactly put a dent in ABC’s bottom line. But it was an unnecessary expense given that any emergency tone or sound could have been used to achieve the same goal as the bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

The network can’t be too upset with Kimmel anyway. They recently signed the comedian to a new contract that will keep him on ABC for at least the next three years.

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The fine may even give President Donald Trump a small bit of satisfaction. He has made no secret of his dislike for late night television so seeing Jimmy Kimmel get fined for a sketch targeting him would be good news for Trump. The bad news is that Kimmel is likely to change his approach when it comes to the president.