That trophy show will be broadcast on Sunday, September 17, and it’s CBS’s turn to host, obviously. Anticipating your next question, it is unusually early to be making this announcement – and comes in marked contrast to the Movie Academy’s unusually late announcement that ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel would be host this year’s Oscars.
But today’s announcement capitalizes on Colbert’s momentum since Donald Trump’s move into the White House. Trump’s inauguration, for instance, handed Late Show its best early household delivery since its third week on the air, the September 22, 2015 telecast when Trump was Colbert’s guest. Late Show finished No.1 in households on four of the five nights of Trump’s Inaugural Week (including a tie). On inauguration night, Late Show topped NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2.3 HH rating), and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live (1.9) in early stats.
To that point, Colbert’s statement in today’s news channeled White House rep Sean Spicer’s Saturday statement about his boss’s inaugural crowd:
“This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person and around the globe,” Colbert said.
Today’s announcement also marks the first time in recent history CBS has named one of its late night hosts to emcee the Emmy Awards when it has been its turn to broadcast. Increasingly, broadcast networks are using their broadcasts of big-ticket trophy ceremonies as a showcase for their late night stars, including Jimmy Fallon’s recent hosting of the Golden Globe Awards, Kimmel’s upcoming Oscar duties. CBS’s James Corden hosted last year’s Tony Awards and will host the upcoming Grammy Awards.
And, for time time, broadcast networks have enlisted their late-night stars to host the Emmys: Fallon in 2010 on NBC, Kimmel in 2012 on ABC, Seth Meyers in 2014 on NBC, Kimmel again in 2016 on ABC. (Fox, having no late night host, recruited primetime stars in years it was designated the broadcasting networks in the four-network Emmy broadcast-rotation: Andy Samberg and Jane Lynch, in 2015 and 2011, respectively.)
But during the David Letterman years, CBS had to look elsewhere to find its Emmy hosts. Among its choices: Bryant Gumbel in 1997, Ellen DeGeneres in ’01 and ’05, and Neil Patrick Harris in 2009 and 2013.
Colbert recently got high marks for hosting the The 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on CBS. And, Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This Sh*t? on Showtime, in which fans of live-TV watched Colbert and his guests get gob-smacked in real time as they learned Donald Trump would be next POTUS, certainly was a talker; Colbert later told CBS News they had not prepped for that contingency, which was very clear.
Colbert’s got a tough act to follow in hosting the next Emmy ceremony. Kimmel got rave reviews for his hosting of the 2016 Emmy Awards; some say it may have clinched him the Oscar gig.
Kimmel’s Emmy Awards hosting included a show stealing opening in which, in an elaborate opening video gag, Kimmel made the world’s longest commute to the Emmy theater, including a white Bronco ride, hitchhiking with Ty Burell’s Modern Family clan, and Carpool Karaoke-ing with James Corden, before finally hitching a ride with First Lady Selina Meyer, who mad him get up front with the driver: former GOP nominee Jeb Bush who confided he’s between jobs and marveled “you can make $12 a hour driving for Uber!”
“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,” CBS EVP specials/music/live events Jack Sussman said in today’s news.
“We are thrilled that Stephen Colbert will be bringing his Emmy-winning comedic talent to hosting this year’s Emmy Awards,” said Television Academy chairman and CEO Hayma Washington.
Nominations for the 69th Emmy Awards will be announced Thursday, July 13 from the Academy’s Wolf Theatre at the Saban Media Center.