One day after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences delayed next year’s Oscars ceremony by two months on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the Television Academy further fortified its plans to make the 72nd Emmy Awards the first major Hollywood awards show to take place during this global health crisis. On Tuesday, ABC announced late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will emcee the ceremony on September 20.
“I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it,” Kimmel said in a statement.
Despite recent attempts to suggest the contrary, indoor mass gatherings remain extremely high risk propositions, according to the Centers for Disease Control. So it remains unlikely that an event like the Emmys, which usually brings together large groups of celebrities and journalists from all over the world, will be able to proceed entirely as planned by September. But if the Television Academy wants to shift the ceremony into a videoconference rather than delaying it—as the Oscars have—Kimmel feels like a perfect choice. As Jimmy Kimmel Live moved into virtually-produced episodes this spring, the two-time Emmys host arguably acquitted himself better than many of his other late-night competitors while telling jokes into a void without a live audience to provide instant feedback. (It helps, too, that ABC employs no other late-night host, and therefore no other obvious pick for Emmys emcee.)
While no other details about the ceremony were revealed on Tuesday, the press release announcing Kimmel’s hire did allow for the likelihood that the show’s format would have to change. Additional plans “regarding production of the show will be announced soon,” read the release.
“We know Jimmy Kimmel will deliver a uniquely entertaining, funny, and moving Primetime Emmys show. He’s a true master of ceremonies who reveres this industry and its people; and just as Jimmy has done with his own show over the past few months, he will tackle this momentous event with heart and humor, and bring some much-needed joy and optimism to our television colleagues and viewers at home,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement. In other words, forget picking out the best tuxedo or gown; Emmy nominees may instead want to make sure their bookcases are perfectly curated for television’s biggest night.
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