'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' fined $395,000 for sketch using emergency alert tones

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Jimmy Kimmel has had a lot of fun at President Donald Trump’s expense, but a sketch from his ABC late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, that included the use of a simulated Federal Communications Commission emergency alert tone, will cost the show $395,000.

The sketch in question aired back in October and poked fun at a presidential alert test from FEMA to millions of cell phones that would warn people of of national emergencies, such as dangerous weather. Kimmel introduced the bit by saying, “The idea of letting President Trump send a text message alert to every American may sound like a bad idea…But what do we do here in Hollywood when we have a bad idea? We make a movie out of it!”

Kimmel then ran a trailer for a fake movie called The Textening, in which chaos erupts as residents take drastic measures to stop the president’s endless flurry of texts.  It included use of the emergency alert tone, which is against FCC regulations since it’s only supposed to be used in the event of an emergency.

According to the FCC filing, ABC says there was a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible.”

The network agreed to pay the $395,000 fine, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “ABC takes regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue.”

In addition to Kimmel, AMC has agreed to pay $104,000 in connection with a tone used in a February episode of The Walking Dead, and Discovery will fork over $68,000 for an episode of Lone Star Law on Animal Planet that captured a real emergency alert while filming.

Each of the companies has agreed to implement a compliance plan to avoid future misuse.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.