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TV Column
Posted at 11:04 PM ET, 07/27/2012

Jimmy Kimmel prefers ‘fellow shallow Hollywood stars’ to White House correspondents


Jimmy Kimmel, who will host the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, and the show's executive producer Don Mische. (FRED PROUSER - REUTERS)
Hosting the Emmy Awards is going to be a lot less stressful than playing to the room at the White House Correspondents Dinner, because “ultimately I’m more comfortable in front of an audience of fellow shallow Hollywood stars,” Jimmy Kimmel told TV critics Friday,

“I almost threw up that afternoon before hosting the White House Correspondents dinner,” the ABC late night host said at Summer TV Press Tour 2012. “That audience is very different and I didn’t know if they would laugh or they would get angry. I think they did both.”

Kimmel, who’s hosting this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards show on ABC, insisted he was not ticked off when the network passed him over the last time the network got the Primetime Emmy Awards (The major broadcast networks take turns airing the Primetime Emmy Awards), because “everybody seemed to hate the broadcast.”

The last time ABC broadcast the trophy show, it was emceed by a panel of reality-TV show hosts, who threw out their opening script and winged it, like they do on their reality series. It’s still considered historically bad, as trophy show hosting goes -- right up there with the year Anne Hathaway and James Franco co-hosted of the Academy Awards.

“I was able to look good by not doing anything at all,” Kimmel said.

Next to the host, what viewers care most about on Emmy night is the “in memoriam” package, Emmy exec producer Don Mischer told TV critics. This, in answer to a question as to whether there would be a special tribute to the late Andy Griffith during this year’s Emmy broadcast, on Sept. 23.

Griffith, star of the beloved 1960’s comedy series “The Andy Griffith Show,” and legal drama “Matlock,” died on July 3, at age 86.

No decision has been made, Mischer said, but he also noted they often “end or begin the package with a little more material, or focus, on individuals with a unique position in the industry.” The in-memoriam package, he said, generally includes about 34-to-36 departed industry notables, although “many more are deserving.”

“It’s very difficult to make the decision” who to include, Mischer said. “What we…try to do is identify those people who will create some sort of emotional resonance among viewers,” he said.

And then, probably regretted it immediately, when Kimmel jumped in and said, “I love the in memoriam. I love that, even in death, you’re subject to a popularity contest.”

As every year, the critics were unhappy about the dozen or so awards handed out during the trophy show in categories “nobody really cares about watching.” If you’ve seen the Emmy broadcast recently, you know which categories they’re talking about.

“I agree,” Kimmel said. “Those are the ones we should get rid of,” he advised.

“But that won’t happen — because we’ve tried many times,” longtime Emmy producer Mischer said, sadly.

“Maybe if we loaded them into T-shirt cannons, and fired them into the audience, we would save time,” Kimmel suggested.

TV critics also seemed unhappy about this year’s nominees in the best movie/miniseries derby, which, as one TV critic noted, included three shows that are actually drama series. The critic was referring to FX’s Ryan Murphy anthology series “American Horror Story,” BBC America’s cop drama “Luther,” and PBS’s Benedict Cumberbatch starrer, “Sherlock.”

TV academy chairman (and Warner Bros. TV chief) Bruce Rosenblum said “American Horror Story” creator Murphy had convinced the academy’s awards committee that his show “clearly belonged” in the miniseries race.

“But it’s not a miniseries,” Kimmel said, restoring reason to its seat.

I’m sorry — I just joined in,” Kimmel continued, when he realized he’d touched a sore spot. “Let’s talk about the ‘Modern Family’ contract renegotiations. I know [the cast] is now asking to be paid to attend the Emmys.”

Later, Rosenblum said they were “watching that category carefully.”

Why?

If you guessed, “In case any of the nominees suddenly starts acting like a drama series” you win! Because Rosenblum continued, saying, “We’ll see how ‘American Horror Story’ plays out next season.”

“I’m going to try and qualify as a miniseries next year – it seems like a soft category,” Kimmel said – again the voice of reason.

Another TV critic wanted to talk about cable networks sewing up all the nominees for the actual best-drama series category this year, as well as a good chunk of the nominees for best comedy series. The critic asked, rhetorically we think, what it is cable shows have going for them that they’re just do darned good, or at least so much better than broadcast shows.

“Nudity and profanity,” Kimmel responded, correctly.

“If we could have more of that on [broadcast] network television, we would win a lot more Emmys. I implore the FCC to act on this. We’re being handcuffed on this. I would like to appear nude on my show.”

Mischer felt compelled to add that premium cable shows, anyway, have higher budgets and no commercial breaks. Rosenblum chimed in that even basic cable series don’t have to churn out nearly as many episodes a season as do broadcast series

Then Mischer said broadcast TV had actually increased its Emmy representation, if you include all the non-glam categories. We’re sure this is a huge comfort to the broadcast networks, which annually broadcast the trophy show that has become a yearly big wet kiss to cable TV.

By  |  11:04 PM ET, 07/27/2012

 
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