Conan O’Brien to chase millennial viewers as MTV Movie Awards host

Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien arrives for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences awards in Moffett Field, Calif. O’Brien announced on his TBS talk show “Conan” that he’s hosting this year’s MTV Movie Awards.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Conan O’Brien will host the youthful, pop-oriented MTV Movie Awards for the first time on April 13 at the Nokia Theatre, the late-night host announced on “Conan” on Tuesday. At 50, he is the oldest performer ever to host the show, which tends to favor twenty- and thirty-something comedians for its podium gigs.

O’Brien is a seasoned awards show emcee, having hosted the Emmys in 2002, 2003 (as a co-host) and 2006. He could lend a bit of legitimacy to an MTV event that previous hosts such as Rebel Wilson (2013), Russell Brand (2012) and Jason Sudeikis (2011) couldn’t quite muster.

In a prepared statement, O’Brien said, “After eight years of intense negations, I am honored to announce I am hosting MTV’s second most prestigious awards show.” (MTV’s banner show is the Video Music Awards.)

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A far cry from the illustrious Academy Awards or even the fizzier Golden Globes, the MTV Movie Awards are a freewheeling popularity contest, powered by fan voting, marked by shameless self-promotion, and featuring unique honors such as best kiss, best fight and best gut-wrenching performance. Nominees will be announced Thursday on the MTV website.

Where most Hollywood awards shows reward serious dramas, MTV’s extravaganza tends to recognize mainstream blockbusters like “The Avengers” and teen-pleasing franchises like the “Twilight” movies. Last year, the show moved up to April from its longstanding home on Memorial Day, the better to hype the ever-expanding summer movie season.

O’Brien could attract some coveted millennial viewers as he faces an increasingly crowded late-night landscape, which in recent weeks has been buzzing over the takeover of “The Tonight Show” by host Jimmy Fallon.



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