ABC casts Lansbury as Primetime Emmy host

In a departure from recent telecasts, Angela Lansbury has been tapped to host the 45th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

Lansbury, a 13-time Emmy nominee, has hosted the Tony Awards on three occasions — each time when they were produced by this year’s Emmycast exec producer, Don Mischer.

In recent years on Fox, theEmmys have employed multiple hosts and relied almost exclusively on standup comedians or comic actors. Last year, for example, the show was hosted by Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley and Dennis Miller.

There were reports of discussions with both Garry Shandling and Jerry Seinfeld in regard to hosting this year’s show, but ABC (which consults with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on such decisions) has gone in another direction.

It’s also noteworthy that Lansbury will appear on ABC starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, a time period she’s held down for CBS the past nine seasons on “Murder, She Wrote.” The veteran Universal drama is preempted the night of the Emmys, Sept. 19, to make room for a preview of the sitcom “It Had to be You” and the broadcast premiere of the feature “The Hunt for Red October,” which will air from 8:30-11:05 p.m.

“Murder, She Wrote,” for which Lansbury has received nine of her Emmy nominations, will mark its 10th season premiere the following Sunday.

ABC has tried to provide a mixed roster of Emmy presenters despite the decision of CBS, NBC and Fox not to participate in this year’s event and to counterprogram aggressively against the show. Previously announced talent includes Jay Leno, Allen, Dana Carvey and Shandling.

Although she has never won an Emmy, Lansbury is a four-time Tony winner and the recipient of five Golden Globe awards and three Oscar nominations.

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