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Michael Che, Colin Jost to Host 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards (EXCLUSIVE)

Colin Jost and Michael Che will host the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on NBC. The “Weekend Update” anchors will be joined by their “Saturday Night Live” boss Lorne Michaels, who will executive produce the awards-show telecast.

NBC is thrilled to be the home of this year’s Emmy Awards and with Colin and Michael in the driver’s seat as hosts, along with surprise appearances by other cast members of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I think we are in for one of the funniest awards shows in a long time,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment.

Paul Telegdy, president, alternative and reality group, NBC Entertainment, added, “We’re proud of our deep comedy roster at NBC, and Michael and Colin — along with the return of king of comedy producer Lorne Michaels — will make this the must-see comedy event of the year.”

The 2018 Emmys will be the first with Michaels as exec producer since the 1988 telecast hosted by John Forsythe. Michaels’ return is indicative of the value that the prolific producer and his “Saturday Night Live” franchise have at NBC. At 73 years old, Michaels has successfully expanded his reach beyond his Saturday perch to nearly every night of the week and multiple dayparts. Over the last decade, his portfolio as a producer has grown to include NBC’s other two late-night comedy franchises, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” both hosted by “Saturday Night Live” alums. He and Meyers also serve as exec producers on the Peacock’s freshman primetime comedy “A.P. Bio.”

Che and Jost have emerged as two of the most recognizable cast members of “Saturday Night Live,” anchoring the long-running “Weekend Update” segment. Jost became a cast member and co-anchor of “Weekend Update” in 2014, and was joined by Che in 2015. The two were named co-head writers of “Saturday Night Live” last year.

“We’re proud to be the first duo hosting the Emmys since Jenna Elfman and David Hyde Pierce, and somehow that’s a real fact,” said Jost and Che.

“Saturday Night Live” was a dominant force at last year’s Emmys, winning nine awards — more than any other show. This season, the sketch-comedy franchise continues to enjoy strong ratings, averaging a 2.82 rating in the 18-49 demo and 9.41 million viewers in Nielsen live-plus-seven numbers.

“We are elated that Colin Jost and Michael Che will bring their hilarious collective talents to hosting this year’s Emmy Awards,” said Hayma Washington, Television Academy chairman and CEO. “They have an amazing onscreen rapport and we are delighted to begin working with them along with the entire NBC team.”

The Television Academy is in the process of negotiating a new so-called “wheel deal” with the Big Four broadcasters. A new eight-year agreement is near completion, sources tell Variety, and would keep the four networks rotating turns as broadcasters for the awards show through 2026. The wheel format has been in place for the Emmys for more than 20 years.

Although still an effective driver of live viewing, the Emmys telecast has experienced ratings declines in recent years, as have most awards shows. Last year’s show on CBS, hosted by Stephen Colbert, drew a 2.5 live-plus-same day Nielsen rating in the demo, down 14% from a year earlier. In total viewers, the telecast held steady at 11.394 million, but was still down significantly from recent highs in 2013 and 2014.

The Emmys will air live from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 17 from 8-11 p.m. ET and 5-8 p.m. PT on NBC. Nominations will be announced July 12.

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