Jimmy Kimmel and Morrissey feud over ‘Duck Dynasty’


British music legend Morrissey (front) performs at the Strathmore Music Hall with Boz Boorer, Solomon Walker and Anthony Burulcich. His set included solo hits like "Everyday Is Sunday"and "Still Ill" from The Smiths. (Kyle Gustafson/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
February 27, 2013

When you cancel at the last minute on your late-night talk-show appearance — because you found out the show had paired you with someone to whom you are morally opposed — then assume the show’s comic headliner is going to savage you on-air.

You can always accuse the comic of living in the intellectual fog of the ’50s and not be far off.

Jimmy Kimmel Live” booked the cast of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” Tuesday night — the same night that former Smiths frontman Morrissey was booked to perform.

Morrissey is widely known to be an animal-rights campaigner — the kind of guy who insists that Los Angeles’s Staples Center should be a meat-free zone the night of his performance.

That appears to be news to Kimmel’s bookers.

“Duck Dynasty” follows the antics of a Louisiana family that has made its fortune selling stuff that people use to hunt ducks — duck calls, decoys, etc. “Duck Dynasty” is an extremely popular cable TV docu-soap.

Late Monday, Morrissey — upon learning of the other guests — issued a statement saying that he would love to perform on the ABC late-night show . . . if Kimmel dumped the “Duck Dynasty” gang.

If not, he said, he’d have to step away, what with the “Duck Dynasty” clan being “people who, in effect, amount to animal serial-killers.”

Makes perfect sense, Morrissey being the guy who co-wrote the Smiths song “Meat Is Murder” — which also may be useful information for Kimmel’s bookers.

On Tuesday night, Kimmel was sincerely unapologetic for the snafu, telling his audience that a young band from Denver called Churchill had nicely stepped in for Morrissey. He said that he “respects” Morrissey’s position — as convincingly as Seth MacFarlane would say he respects TV critics.

“There’s a very good reason why I didn’t dump ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ” Kimmel explained to his audience at the top of Tuesday’s episode. “It’s because they have guns, and Morrissey doesn’t.”

If Morrissey is really serious about this animal-activism thing, he shouldn’t make TV appearances of any kind, Kimmel extrapolated. When Morrissey appeared on David Letterman’s show recently, for instance, “there had to be an Outback Steakhouse ad in the mix,” Kimmel said.

Morrissey, Kimmel concluded, “keeps finding ways to depress us.” Even then, Kimmel wasn’t through batting around Morrissey for his devotion to animals.

The “Duck Dynasty” guys “feel bad” about what happened and want Morrissey to know that they also make “calls” for people who are opposed to shooting of animals, Kimmel said — by way of introducing a gag ad the show made, for a Duck Dynasty Carrot Call. In the ad, the “Duck Dynasty” hunters are seen blowing into their carrot-callers, causing unsuspecting young carrots to jump out of the soil and into their mouths. “I love yuppie food!” the ad ends.

“I was disappointed with last night’s Jimmy Kimmel show wherein our smiling host managed to ridicule depression (70% of Americans suffer from depression according to the National Institute of Mental Health),” Morrissey said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“He then found time to ridicule healthy eating (the obesity epidemic in the U.S. costs $147 billion per year in medical expenditure), and he also ridiculed the notion that animals should be entitled to the possession of their own lives,” wrote Morrissey, developing his Kimmel’s-a-nincompoop leitmotif.

“Furthermore, he found time to jokingly promote gun-ownership — hugely amusing for the parents at Sandy Hook, no doubt. He also promoted his special guests Duck Dynasty — who kill beings for fun.

“None of the above issues are, of course, as important as Jimmy Kimmel himself, who has finally revealed his show to have an overwhelming loss of meaning. Tune in and relive the intellectual fog of the 1950s,” Morrissey concluded.

New ‘Dead’ heads

AMC unveils new “The Walking Dead” show runners like FX unveils new “American Horror Story” story lines: nearly every season.

On Wednesday, AMC officially announced that “Dead’s” supervising producer, Scott M. Gimple, had been promoted to exec producer and show runner, confirming news reports from January. Gimple is replacing Glen Mazzara on the zombie drama. Mazzara had replaced Frank Darabont, who left early in the second season. That makes Gimple the third “Dead” show runner in four seasons.

AMC also announced that it had promoted “Dead’s” co-exec producer (who is also the show’s special-effects makeup supervisor/sometime director) Greg Nicotero to exec producer, and that it had done the same for series producer Tom Luse.

Presumably, one of them will replace Gimple when he decides he’s told all the stories he wants to tell and has connected with his fans on a level he never imagined was possible, and feels it is time to move on — like Mazzara did around the end of Season 3. Those two other new exec producers are joining exec producers Robert Kirkman (whose comic books are the basis of the series), Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert.

Anyway, the show is festooned with exec producers for its fourth season, which begins production May 6 in Atlanta.

AMC exec VP Joel Stillerman — who always seems to be around when a “Walking Dead” show runner decides to pursue other opportunities — said that Gimple’s voice has been integral to the show since he joined the production. It seems Gimple’s the guy who wrote last season’s gripping midseason finale, which revealed Sophia in the barn.

Yet Gimple allows himself to be photographed in argyle sweaters over cat neckties.

When Mazzara left, he and the network said the parting was a mutual decision, but others fluttering around the show said that Kirkman helped show Mazzara the way out.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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