This isn’t supposed to be Jimmy Kimmel’s first stint as host of the Emmys. Many assumed ABC would tap its late-night star the last time it aired the awards show, four years ago. Instead, the job went to the five “entertainers” up for outstanding reality host. The nominees, who opened with a bit about “nothing” and proceeded downhill from there, bombed so badly that Time magazine named it one of the top 10 worst hosting attempts in TV history.
“I wasn’t really ticked off, to be honest with you,” said Kimmel of the public snub. “I actually took some satisfaction out of it because everyone seemed to hate how the broadcast came out, and I was able to look good by not doing anything at all.”
If being stagnant were truly Kimmel’s goal, then 2012 is turning out to be a disappointing year.
In addition to hosting the 64th annual Emmy Awards Sunday, Kimmel served as emcee for the White House Correspondents Dinner in April and got engaged to girlfriend Molly McNearney, one of his show’s head writers. He persuaded Oprah Winfrey to appear on his show and orchestrated a video starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep and just about every other star in Hollywood that premiered after the Academy Awards.
But the biggest professional news came when ABC announced that, starting in 2013, Kimmel will swap time slots with Nightline, meaning that his Live — the only late-night network talk show that gained viewers last season — will compete directly with Jay Leno and David Letterman.
Not bad for a guy once known for hosting The Man Show, best remembered for near-naked women bouncing on trampolines.
“Maybe it’s like the sad kid sitting outside of the house where the party is happening, and someone finally goes, ‘All right. Come in and have a drink,’ ” Kimmel, 44, said. ”I don’t know that the world has come closer to my humor, but I think it’s just attrition more than anything.”
While Kimmel confesses that he doesn’t have a lot of control over a live broadcast like the Emmys, you can bet that his comic sensibility will set the tone. But he’s cautious about making the same mistake his showbiz idol, Letterman, made in 1994 when he tried to turn the Oscars into a prime-time version of his own show.
“I thought Dave was great, but I was very familiar with his show, and I loved seeing those elements of his show worked into the program,” Kimmel said. “With that said, I understand that I’m there hosting the Emmys and that it’s not some expansion of my show. So, no, Guillermo [his sidekick] won’t be invited.”
As for the move to an earlier time slot, Kimmel said it was important if the show is to continue growing.
“There’s a huge difference between the number of eyeballs available at midnight and at 11:35,” he said, referring to the Eastern and Western time zones. “So many people watch our videos online, we couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we were exposed to a wider audience.”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)