Two’s a trend? The Emmy Awards will go host-less this year, following the lead of the Academy Awards after hitting a ratings low during last year’s telecast.
Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier confirmed the move on Wednesday during the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour in Beverly Hills, noting that the decision will allow the September telecast more time to honor the robust batch of TV series that have ended their run in the last year.
Those programs include HBO’s blockbuster “Game of Thrones” and its political satire “Veep,” which dominated July’s nominations, as well as Amazon’s acclaimed “Fleabag” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”
Last year, the Television Academy’s prestigious event aired on NBC with “Saturday Night Live” stars Colin Jost and Michael Che at the helm. The 2018 Emmys drew 10.2 million total viewers, down 10.5% from the previous year. The decline continued the viewership slide that has coincided with the rise of streaming TV.
“If you have a host and an opening number, that’s 15 minutes you can’t use to salute the shows,” Collier said. “We will go host-less this year, and I think it will give us more time to honor those shows.”
That doesn’t mean the broadcast won’t feature an opening number.
“There will be entertainment, there will be an opening number,” he said, noting that the producers are working on the framework now. “I love that the producers are so thoughtfully approaching these choices. There will be many surprises and it will be entertaining.”
Collier acknowledged that seeing how this year’s Oscars fared was something Fox and Emmy producers paid attention to internally.
The February Oscars telecast, at which “Green Book” won best picture, saw a respectable 12% gain in the ratings from the previous year — this after steady ratings declines for most awards shows year after year. The motion picture academy’s decision to go without a host came after major backlash over comedian Kevin Hart emceeing the affair.
“Obviously, that was a piece of info we gathered and looked at,” Collier said.
Amy Poehler, a veteran awards show host, was asked about the Emmys going host-less: “It seems like the Oscars went well without a host. I’m sure the Emmys will too. It seems cool to not have a host right now. Those shows are a beast, and I think that the people that produce these shows have a very specific and hard job. It should just be a fun party. Think of how fun it is when you go to a party and you don’t know who’s throwing it.”
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Fox on Sept. 22.
Times staff writer Stephen Battaglio contributed to this report.