EXCLUSIVE: Voiceover announcer is an indelible part of awards shows — something that is always there but never stands out. CBS is aiming at changing that up this year with one of the network’s comedy stars, Superior Donuts‘ Jermaine Fowler, taking on the role.
“What most awards show do is have the announcer locked in a closet reading from a script on cue,” said Jack Sussman, CBS Entertainment EVP, music and live events. “What we will do is have Jermaine be an active part of the show. He will be connected with what’s happened on the telecast and what happens next. What we want to do is get a peek behind the curtain in a fun, engaging way.”
Unlike most announcers who are never seen, Fowler will sometime be on-camera backstage. And while he will follow a script, there will be room for some ad-libbing.
It was Fowler’s extensive experience performing in front of a live audience as a standup comedian (in addition to being one of CBS’ leading men) that made him the network’s choice for the job. And while he will be able react to what’s going on during the show, that will not take anything away from host Stephen Colbert’s role as a commentator on the events as they happen live at the Emmys.
While not unprecedented, it is certainly rare for awards show voiceover announcers to be on-camera. Previous examples include Oscar announcer Peter Coyote.
The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with Colbert as host and Fowler as voiceover announcer air Sept. 17 at 8 PM ET on CBS.