May 14, 2002 10:47 AM

ABC will announce on Tuesday that its beleaguered late-night show “Politically Incorrect” starring Bill Maher, will leave the air in January to be replaced by a new show starring Comedy Central’s “Man Show” comic Jimmy Kimmel, reports The New York Times. The new show reportedly will feature a more traditional format, with Kimmel, 34, interviewing guests from behind a desk, as opposed to “Politically Incorrect’s” roundtable. Maher’s future with ABC has been in question for months. The problems began when he made what many considered inappropriate (albeit sarcastic) remarks about how “cowardly” U.S. forces were compared to the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers. In March, Maher, 46, spoke to the Seattle Times, which asked him point blank about his TV show’s chances for survival. “Look, I’m not gonna lie,” he responded, “I knew back in September our days were numbered. But what is a little galling is that for six years on ABC, we had to live with ‘Nightline’ as the ultimate sacred cow. You could never ask Ted Koppel to do anything. He never asked viewers to watch ‘Politically Incorrect’ after his show; instead, he’d tell them to go to nightline.com.” Kimmel’s show comes in the wake of ABC’s unsuccessful attempt earlier this year to woo David Letterman from CBS.

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