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Prepare for wisecracks: Jimmy Kimmel to emcee the prime-time Emmys

It'll be the first time popular late-night host Kimmel has emceed the annual ceremony. But first, there's the gig at the White House correspondents' dinner in April.

March 27, 2012|By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times
  • Jimmy Kimmel will host the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on Sept. 23.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on Sept.… (Bob D'Amico / ABC )

The Emmy wheel has finally landed on Jimmy Kimmel.

The host of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" will host the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 23, ABC and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday.

It will be the first time that Kimmel has hosted the Emmy ceremony, which rotates on an annual "wheel" among the four major broadcasting networks.

Kimmel's turn at the dais could be seen as overdue. Executives typically hand the hosting job to a well-known talent associated with the network. Last year, Jane Lynch of "Glee" was the emcee for Fox's telecast. Kimmel's late-night rivals David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart have already had Emmy hosting or co-hosting stints.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" premiered in 2003, but when ABC last broadcast the Emmys in 2008, five reality-TV stars were picked as hosts in an ill-fated bid to win over young viewers. The resulting ceremony earned terrible reviews and record-low ratings.

"We love television and look forward to working with the Television Academy and ABC in creating a show that is fast-paced, humorous, unpredictable and at times irreverent, but clearly celebratory of our incredible industry," executive producer Don Mischer, who will oversee the show for a record 12th time, wrote in a statement.

That sentiment could be seen as a gentle brushback against the Golden Globes and host Ricky Gervais, who has raised some industry hackles with his lacerating gibes about executives and stars.

Then again, Kimmel takes second place to no one when it comes to bashing network executives. His remarks at the ABC "upfront" presentation in New York each May — when the network starts the process of selling the bulk of its commercial time — are known for their bombs-away wisecracks.

"You come here and we shower you with promises and never really follow through on any of them," Kimmel told ad buyers at the presentation in May. "If this was a show, we'd call it 'The Bachelor.' We tell you we love you; we give you a rose; we canoodle with you in a hot tub and then 2½ months down the line, you realize we're gay."

It remains to be seen whether Kimmel can strike a similar pose for the Emmys, where the audience might not have as tough a hide.

Kimmel's live post-Oscars show has become an annual ABC rite, and his fake trailer for "Movie: The Movie" became a viral sensation earlier this year. His show's YouTube channel just surpassed half a billion views. He's also set to host the White House correspondents' dinner in April, another high-profile gig made most notable by Stephen Colbert's scathing routine in front of President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Emmy telecast will be broadcast live on both coasts.

Times staff writer Patrick Kevin Day contributed to this report.

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