More people remember who hosted the Emmy Awards than the winners. Tis the nature of the beast I suppose. Afterall, most normal folks with a life don’t see ALL or even half the programs nominated – nor do they want to. Yet they do tend to watch the Emmy telecast. If only a little. And maybe only on the news or the internet where the critics weigh in on the show’s merits or lack thereof…
Emmy hosts don’t have an easy job. Even the funniest ones can only improve a three -plus hour trophy handout so much. Survival is the only goal of an Emmy host. That and not sucking as bad as the 2008 Emmys:
EARLY EMMY HOSTS WE DON’T REMEMBER
Entertainer Walter O’Keefe hosted the first Emmys in 1949, which were presented only to local Los Angeles broadcasters. O’Keefe is best remembered as a quiz master, actor and the guy who penned the song The Daring Young Men On The Flying Trapeze. Nobody remembers TV announcer Bill Welsh (host in 1950) either, though he has a star on the Walk of Fame. We do remember Earl Warren though. But not for hosting the 1951 ceremony as much as the Warren Commission investigation of JFK’s murder. I want an investigation into why Time For Beany beat out Kukla, Fran and Ollie for Best Children’s Show! Oh right. No mystery there. Time For Beany rocked:
EMMY HOSTS WE DON’T REMEMBER BUT SHOULD
The early Emmys were hosted by a great cross-section of influential TV figures, many of whom have faded in our collective memory. Names like Art Linkletter, Arthur Godfrey, Dave Garroway, Danny Thomas and Phil Silvers. I could tell you who these people were but I want you to look it up:
ODD EMMY CO-HOSTS
The Emmys have often gone with multiple hosts that had no business being teamed together. Sometimes it has worked. Often it hasn’t. I really wonder what went on behind the scenes in 1977 when the volatile Robert Blake co-hosted with Policewoman Angie Dickinson. Sure there’s a story there. And, as much as I love them both, Joan Rivers and Eddie Murphy (1983) together? Who’s choosing the comedy material there?
The oddest, worst pairing was the aforementioned, much-panned 2008 ceremony featuring reality show kingpins Jeff Probst (Survivor), Heidi Klum (Project Runway), Howie Mandel (Deal Or No Deal), Ryan Seacrest (American idol) and Tom Bergeron (Dancing With The Stars). I guess it looked good in theory but, wow. That’s a lot of non-comic, non-actors there (Mandel the exception). I just want to punch them individually. Big surprise the ceremony was the lowest-rated Emmys EVER:
SUPPOSE THEY GAVE OUT EMMYS BUT NOBODY SHOWED UP?
Pity TV icons Dick Clark and Steve Allen. They were given the unenviable task of hosting the 1980 Emmys in the midst of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild. Fifty-one of the 52 nominees didn’t show up to the half-empty auditorium. But who can blame them? Who wants to watch a show with no stars? The lack of rambling acceptance speeches really did move things along though…
Only actor Powers Boothe showed up to collected his acting trophy – quipping “This is either the most courageous moment in my career or the stupidest.”
MOST POPULAR HOST
Although there have been several multiple hosts (Conan, Ellen, Bill Cosby, Desi Arnaz), the legendary Johnny Carson holds the record for hosting (and cohosting) the most. He first cohosted in 1963 (with David Brinkley and Bob Newhart), before enjoying a four-year run as lone host from 1971 to 1974. His easy-going hosting style led to his call-up to the big leagues as MC of the annual Academy Awards (1978-81, 1983):
THE REAL TRICK TO HOSTING?
Note to 2012 host Jimmy Kimmel – have a killer opening. A lot of people tune out after the opening anyway. Here’s one of my faves: