On the same Television Critics Assn. panel stage Friday where TV Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum defended the legtimacy of “American Horror Story” escaping the Primetime Emmy drama competition by announcing after its first season that it was an anthology series, Kimmel was poking fun at the category move.
“It’s not a miniseries – let’s be honest,” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host said of “AHS,” before later adding, “I’m gonna try to qualify as a miniseries next year. It seems like a soft category.”
It was all in good fun for Kimmel, who had several good lines while seeming completely at ease with his role as the emcee for TV’s big night Sept. 23, and who seems to have a pretty clear idea of what he can get away with.
“If I feel like people are coming to my home with torches, I will probably shy away,” Kimmel said. “There are things that are just dumb to say.”
The self-assuredness comes amid a better-late-than-never moment for Kimmel, who was passed over the last time ABC broadcast the Emmys in favor of the extremely ill-fated decision to hand the reins to a sqaudron of ill-served reality frontmen.
“I was able to look good by not doing anything at all,” Kimmel said of the 2008 Emmys. “That’s my goal in life, by the way.”
Since then, the Emmys have had a renaissance from a hosting perspective, with Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Fallon and Jane Lynch running the show to positive reviews. Kimmel’s turn will probably resemble Fallon’s the most, at least in spirit if not style as well – the challenge being to do what he does best without becoming a mystery to those who aren’t familiar with his latenight schtick or his post-Oscar specials.
“I operate under the presumption that no one has ever seen my show,” Kimmel said. “I thought David Letterman was great when he hosted the Oscars, but I was very familiar with his show. … I understand that the Emmys aren’t an extension of my show.”
It always comes as a bit of a surprise how limited the opportunities are for a host to make an impact, especially after the introductory segment. The other member of the panel, exec producer Don Mischer, pointed out that there are only approximately 21 minutes of show content available that don’t directly involve handing out the broadcast’s 26 awards – more than any other major televised awards show. Those 21 minutes also include what for many is the most sacred segment of the night, the In Memoriam tribute.
Mischer and Kimmel are planning to make an effort to keep Kimmel present.
“I like to be a part of the show throughout,” Kimmel said. “Some shows, the awards host is there at the beginning and then disappears for 45 minutes.”
Kimmel could also be part of the effort to keep the kudocast from sagging as the smaller marquee awards are presented.
“Our job is to make those as interesting as possible,” Mischer said. “It’s a challenge.”
Mischer said that the show would continue the recent practice of being structured according to genre, with comedy, drama, reality and movies-minis being given out in separate chunks.
“That allows us when we’re introducing those genres to look not only at the nominated material but other material that had a great impact this season,” Mischer said. “We’re trying to be a little broader.”
“If the awards show gods smile on us, we will have heartfelt wins and wonderful acceptance speeches and brevity and humor. When that happens, there’s a spirit that lifts the show.”
Kimmel, true to form, suggested handing out some of the less exciting awards via T-shirt cannon.
Also from TCA: The ‘In Memoriam’ Challenge