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Emmys: Fox, TV Academy Mull Going Host-Free (EXCLUSIVE)

Insiders say that a final decision is still weeks away as producers consider how to best celebrate the year's biggest shows

The possibility of a host-less Emmys is among the leading options being considered by Fox and the Television Academy as it preps for this year’s telecast.

With just three months until the telecast and no host yet named, insiders confirm that the Emmys may go without one for the first time since 2003 (when the show also aired on Fox). But they also caution that nothing has been decided, and the perfect host may still come along and be hired.

This year’s Emmy nominations will be announced on July 16, and that may be when the network, Academy and telecast producers Don Mischer Prods. and Done+Dusted make a final decision on which route to go.

By that point it will be clear which shows will be honored at the Emmys. But the frontrunners are expected to include several landmark shows that are ending their runs, including HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Veep,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and more.

With so many iconic shows ending their run (and others celebrating anniversaries), it may be a good year to shift the focus away from one host and toward the programs.

The idea, of course, is also inspired by this year’s Academy Awards telecast, which earned high marks (and improved ratings) despite not having a host at its core.

The conventional wisdom was that the Oscars show succeeded because the attention was focused on the year’s big movies, which happened to also have wide appeal, such as “A Star Is Born,” “The Green Book,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” And indeed, the show’s ratings improved by 12% among viewers and 13% with adults 18-49.

Adding to the possibility is the fact that Fox doesn’t have a late-night franchise, which has been the go-to spot for ABC, NBC and CBS in recent years. The last time Fox aired the Emmys, in 2015, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Andy Samberg was host — but that show is now on NBC.

Besides 2003, the Emmys also went without a host in 1998 (on NBC) and 1975 (on CBS).

The move would also be in line with the mandate that the Academy and Fox gave when it brought in two different production companies to handle the Emmys together. Don Mischer Prods. and Done+Dusted have been tasked with trying to reinvent the Emmy telecast after years of ratings declines, and shifting the focus from host to the shows would be one way to do it.

The 2018 Emmy Awards on NBC averaged a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.2 million viewers, making it the least-watched Emmys on record. Going host-less might also stir some interest from viewers who, like this year’s Oscars, might want to check out what the producers have in mind instead, and also want to see the casts from shows like “Game of Thrones” united on stage one last time.

And it would also resolve one of the most challenging issue facing awards shows these days: Finding the right host who is then willing to do it, in an age when they’re almost likely to be lambasted on social media.

“It’s a tough job and it’s kind of a thankless job,” “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon recently told Variety.

Last year’s hosts on NBC, “Saturday Night Live” anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost, received mixed reviews — and perhaps the most memorable moment came not from them, but from the unexpected wedding proposal made by Oscars director Glenn Weiss as he picked up his Emmy.

The 71st annual Emmy Awards will take place at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sept. 22 in the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles and air live on Fox.

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