'Late Night's' Ross will exec produce kudocast

Conan O’Brien is making a return engagement as Emmy host.

Host of NBC’s “Late Night” is set to emcee the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, according to people familiar with the situation. O’Brien’s last solo stint as host was four years ago, the last time NBC broadcast the event.

The difference this time: “Late Night” exec producer Jeff Ross will be one of the exec producers of this year’s kudocast. He’ll partner with Ken Ehrlich, the veteran Grammy producer who last year replaced long-time Emmy producer Don Mischer.

Peacock will air this year’s Emmys, which is set for Sunday, Aug. 27 at the Shrine Auditorium.

Ross has worked with O’Brien since “Late Night” launched more than a decade ago. However, he didn’t have any official role in O’Brien’s last Emmy gig.

O’Brien garnered favorable reviews for his 2002 hosting duties. He was asked back the next year to serve as one of a bevy of comedy stars who jointly hosted the show.

This year’s Emmycast is being held unusually early due to a confluence of events. NBC’s new Sunday football showcase made it hard to find a Sunday date for the show, with the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks further complicating matters (Daily Variety, July 29).

NBC has tapped O’Brien to take over from Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight” show in 2009. He and Ross are also exec producing “Andy Barker, PI,” a midseason comedy starring former sidekick Andy Richter that the Peacock ordered to series last week.

Peacock and ATAS reps declined comment.

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