Chelsea Handler: last year’s VMA host will not make a return. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When asked this week who would be handling emcee duties for this year’s round of Moonman statue distribution, an MTV rep said via e-mail that “There is no single host this year because we are experimenting with a non-traditional format.” Now it sounds like the real reason may be that MTV couldn't find the right man or woman for the job. had reported that Amy Doyle, the show’s executive producer, said the host search was “going down to the wire” and that the network was “really challenging ourselves to find the right person so that the show feels complete.” They since updated that item to reflect the fact that MTV has opted to operate sans host, a decision Vulture suggests may have been made by default because MTV’s search came up empty.

MTV reps did not respond to a follow-up e-mail asking for more details about the aforementioned non-traditional format. However, this won’t be the first time the VMAs proceeds without a comic anchor; in both 2004 and 2007, the ceremony went hostless as well.

But for a program that thrives on shock value, putting a loose-lipped controversy-courter at the helm often translates into increased buzz and, as it did last year when Chelsea Handler hosted, higher ratings. With no host, MTV will have to hope that the promise of advance footage from “The Hunger Games” and the possibility that Lady Gaga will show up wearing something destined to anger PETA will be enough to entice viewers.