With the advent of fall comes the run-up to awards season. For most, that period starts in January and February when the movie-level awards are given out. But for TV, awards season begins far earlier, with the Emmys landing well before the rest. The Primetime Emmy Awards are a middle of September affair. That means post-Labor Day, it's a scramble to see, be seen, and remind everyone it's an honor just to be nominated. It's also when the Emmy hosts prep their jokes. But not this year... because there are none. So why isn't there a 2019 Emmy host?
Though no one will come out and say it directly, viewers can probably blame the Oscars for kicking off this trend. It wasn't on purpose. The Academy Awards didn't want to go host-less. (The last time it had, in 1989, it was kind of a disaster.) But several of the choices turned the Academy down, and when finally someone did say yes, Kevin Hart, the backlash was so fierce, he wound up withdrawing.
The result was the first host-less Oscars in 30 years, and it was such a success, it was only a matter of time before others followed suit. Word was, the Emmys did have a candidate or two in mind. But instead, it was decided that rather than risk a controversy, the awards show would take up the host-less trend.
So how do the Emmys plan to handle the show without a host? Speaking to Variety, producer Guy Carrington said he expects the winners will provide enough entertainment of their own. After all, last year's big moment had nothing to do with hosts or gags or sketches. It was when director Glenn Weiss got down on one knee in front of the entire room and asked his partner to marry him.
The only problem, at the time, was that the show was already running long, and the entire thing (which the cameras never cut away from, tacked on another seven minutes):
For me in the truck, [the added time] was a horrifying moment... But at the same time, it was gold. It’s what a show like this needs. You watch the clock tick away … but you know that this is going to be a moment that everyone is going to talk about.
So the plan is to take out the host banter, leaving more time for these unexpected moments of live television. As co-producer Don Mischer put it:
The moment that can make or break these kinds of shows, that make them memorable, are often things producers have absolutely no control over... We don’t have any idea who’s going to win until the envelope is opened, and we have no control over what a winner will say. So if a winner gets up there and makes an eloquent, emotional speech about what this moment means to them, that’s not something we can produce or write.
Not that the winners are totally under the gun to provide Twitter-worthy moments. The presenters will be expected to do their bit with banter. But as viewers saw with the Oscars, a little of each was just the right amount.
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8 pm. ET on Fox.