Lynette Rice
February 23, 2009 AT 09:35 PM EST

If Jimmy Kimmel harbors any residual anger for almost having Jay Leno as a lead-in at 11:30 p.m. (and let’s not forget how he was passed over to host the Emmys on ABC last fall because the net wanted a lousy quintet of reality emcees instead), he certainly didn’t show it last night. In one of the few highlights this writer took away from last night’s Academy Awards (and it can’t be great when one of the few highlights happened during a commercial break), Kimmel appeared in a promo for his eponymous show opposite Tom Cruise. The segment (embedded below), in which Cruise sends Kimmel into a burning home to save his “cat,” was genius on so many levels. For one, it shows just how far Kimmel has come from those days when he was lucky to get C-list stars to appear on his couch. It also proves once again that when it comes to 12:30 a.m. yakfests, Kimmel’s the one to beat. Remember, it was his show (and his girlfriend Sarah Silverman) that treated us to the viral video “I’m f—ing Matt Damon,” followed by the (almost as) entertaining “I’m f—ing Ben Affleck.” And now Kimmel has hey-he’s-cool-again Cruise pimping his franchise!

What did you think of the spot? Was it enough to make you want to start Tivo-ing a little Kimmel action?

More Cruise/Kimmel:
Ken Tucker: Stewart, Colbert, Kimmel: Who will make the best Oscar jokes tonight?

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