What’s in a host? In their continuous pursuit of a healthy Nielsen rating for the Emmys telecast, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has always scouted out a host with the perfect balance of showmanship, popularity, and relevance to the events at hand, often to little avail. A cursory scan of recent years’ viewership figures would suggest no relation between host selection and ratings; just last year, Andy Samberg did a bangup job of keeping the ceremony light fun and speedy, and was rewarded with an 11.87 rating, the lowest in Emmy history. Presumably panicked, the program’s producers needed a sure thing and decided, understandably, to dip back into the pool of successful past hosts in an effort to reproduce that success. We may safely assume that Neil Patrick Harris had other stuff going on, because the Emmys, per Entertainment Weekly, have now named Jimmy Kimmel as the host of this year’s ceremony.
The late-night fixture last handled hosting duties for the 2012 show, making an impression of easy affability in the unenviable gig. (It’s no coincidence that Kimmel’s last stint as host was four years ago — the major networks of NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox alternate producing the show every year, and presiding network ABC has a vested interest in promoting their own late-night racehorse.) Bringing an approachable everyman perspective to an evening that can often get lost in its own showbiz in-jokes, Kimmel handled himself well and brought in a 13.26 rating, nothing to sneeze at. Announcing his own appointment via the tweet embedded below, Kimmel will take the stage when the Emmys broadcast airs on Sunday, September 18. The likelihood of Kimmel busting out an elaborate song-and-dance number seem rather unlikely, but we can take solace in the assurance that he’ll have plenty of jokes about John Travolta’s horrifying appearance in American Crime Story prepped and ready for deployment.