Hoping to boost ratings for its signature event, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has chosen comic Garry Shandling to be the only host of the 56th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be presented Sept. 19 on ABC.
Critics complained that last year's Emmy telecast on Fox was a disjointed affair, in large part because the single-host format was abandoned in favor of 11 hosts, including Shandling. The Emmy broadcast is rotated each year among the four major broadcast networks.
Ratings-starved ABC hopes to use the awards telecast to help promote its new fall shows (the season officially begins the next day) and so was determined to streamline this year's ceremony, according to one insider.
The show will air live to the East Coast -- and on tape delay in the West -- from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Emmy veteran Don Mischer will be executive producer.
This will be Shandling's second outing as solo MC. He last hosted in 2000, when the Emmys also ran on ABC and netted an average of 21.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
No Emmy telecast since has done as well. Like the Academy Awards, the Emmys have been struggling to hang on to viewers. Last year's Fox airing drew 17.9 million viewers, a 10 percent slide from the previous year on NBC, when the host was "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien.
Other recent hosts have included Ellen DeGeneres (2001) and David Hyde Pierce and Jenna Elfman (1999).
Shandling does not currently have a regular TV gig. His best-known series, "The Larry Sanders Show" on HBO, ended its six-season run in 1998.