By tapping Colbert as host, CBS follows the example of competitors ABC and NBC, who in recent years have turned to their own late-night stars for the Emmys gig. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Emmys last year and in 2012 on ABC. Seth Meyers hosted in 2014 and Jimmy Fallon in 2010 for NBC.
The Emmys will be the first major awards-show gig for Colbert, who took over CBS’ “Late Show” in 2015 following the retirement of founding host David Letterman. Last year, the network’s other late-night star, James Corden, hosted the Tony Awards, and Variety reported exclusively in November that Corden would host the Grammy Awards later this year. CBS holds exclusive broadcast rights to both shows. The Emmys rotate among ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.
“We’re excited to kick off the new season and celebrate the top achievements in television with Stephen Colbert as host of the Primetime Emmys,” said Jack Sussman, executive vice president, specials, music and live events, CBS Entertainment. “Stephen is the ultimate master of ceremonies with award-winning creative talents, and as we’ve seen the past few months, he has a fearless passion for live television. We look forward to honoring television’s best while entertaining audiences with the creative energy and sharp comedy of Stephen Colbert.”
Television Academy chairman and CEO Hayma Washington added, “We are thrilled that Stephen Colbert will be bringing his Emmy-winning comedic talent to hosting this year’s Emmy Awards. He’s a formidable showman and we are delighted to begin working with him and the entire CBS team.”
Colbert’s previous show, “The Colbert Report,” won nine Emmys for its nine-year run on Comedy Central — seven for outstanding writing in a variety series, and two for outstanding variety series.
The 2016 Emmys with Kimmel drew positive reviews and helped propel Kimmel to a gig hosting this year’s Academy Awards. But facing competition from “Sunday Night Football” on NBC, the awards-show drew a record-low 11.3 million viewers and 2.8 ratings among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers.
“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period,” said Stephen Colbert. “Both in person and around the globe.”
Nominations for the 2017 Primetime Emmys will be announced July 13.