This year’s Emmy telecast will have lots of hosts – smart, slick, funny ones.
It’s just that … well, none of them will be hosting. No one will.
Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert have all been witty award-show hosts; Billy Porter (shown here) would be another good one. This time, alas, they’re merely presenters.
They will, at least, get a chance to briefly amuse us … and to remind us that shows need hosts.
”I personally remember Billy Crystal hosting (the Oscars) and Steve Martin hosting,” Kimmel said. “I wasn’t as interested in the acting awards as I was in seeing how (they) would handle the show.”
Many viewers share that disinterest in the awards themselves. That’s true of the:
— Oscars. Gone are the days when popular mega-movies (“Titanic” and “Gandhi” and such) dominated. Few people had seen such best-picture winners as “Moonlight” or “The Hurt Locker,”
— Emmys. TV is better than ever, but the top shows are more spread out. This is no longer a world ruled by ABC’s “Modern Family” or CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” or NBC’s “West Wing.”
Look at the 25 nominees for best drama, comedy, movie and mini-series; exactly two (NBC’s “This is Us” and “The Good Place”) are on a free broadcast network. Or try the 25 nods for best actor or actress; four (three from “This Is Us” and Ted Danson from “Good Place”) are from broadcast.
To know them all, viewers need basic cable plus HBO, Showtime, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Many don’t, making the awards less interesting – especially with acceptance speeches listing agents and such.
Then doesn’t the show needs something to entertain us – a host’s monolog, for instance? Kimmel views that whimsically. “I am in the unique position of being the host that, after I hosted, they decided they didn’t need a monolog anymore,” he said, adding that the Oscar ratings were higher without him.
Well … there’s more to it than that: Kevin Hart was chosen to follow Kimmel … then was ousted due to long-ago remarks in his stand-up act. The Oscars had the perfect alternative – a rousing opener with Queen and Adam Lambert, doing songs from the nominated “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie.
That can work sometimes; it works for the Grammys to go host-less, packing in lots of music. But it was a one-time solution.
And that ratings increase? It was probably due to the fact that there were more nominees — “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star is Born” — that people had seen.
Still, the ratings bump was “something we paid attention to,” said Charlie Collier, whose network (Fox) is airing the Emmys this year.
The main reason for going host-less, he said, is to make sure the show ends by 11 p.m., yet has time for tributes to departing series. “This is a pretty unique year for some of America’s favorite shows.”
There will be tributes to “Big Bang,” “Veep,” “Game of Thrones” and more. Indeed, the list of presenters includes 10 “Thrones” actors, all of them with nominations.
Porter, a nominee from “Pose,” has brightened the Tonys and Oscars with spectacular outfits. “Apparently, I’ve become a fashion icon,” he said. “Which I have tried to be all my life.”
He sings and dances and livens any room; presumably, he’d make a fine host. So would Kimmel or Meyers or Colbert. Or Amy Poehler, who had three fun Golden Globe gigs with Tina Fey.
For now, Poehler says she’s viewing the host-less show optimistically. “Think about how much fun it is when you go to a party and you don’t know who’s throwing it.”
Except, of course, in Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” That time, everyone was killed.
— Emmys, 8-11 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept, 22, Fox.
— Fox has a preview at 6:30 p.m. ET and red-carpet from 7-8. The E channel has a preview at 4:30 p.m. and red-carpet from 6-8 p.m., plus a party from 11 p.m. to midnight.