ABC late-night star Jimmy Kimmel will host ABC’s coverage of the 2012 Emmy Awards, the TV academy announced Monday.

It’s about time!

Previous hosts have included “Glee” star Jane Lynch, NBC late-night headliner Jimmy Fallon and Neil Patrick “I Can Host Anything” Harris. Yet somehow, Kimmel has not yet hosted the TV trophy show, even though ABC takes turns broadcasting it with NBC, CBS and Fox.

Apparently it took a bunch of White House correspondents to convince Hollywood that Kimmel’s got what it takes to host a big-ticket event. Kimmel’s hosting next month’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

That — and the fact that Kimmel recently stole ABC’s Academy Awards telecast with his annual post-Oscar special, in which his movie spoof, “Movie: The Movie,” pounded the movie spoof that opened the actual Oscar ceremony that night.

In fairness, Oscar host Billy Crystal and producer Brian Grazer hadn’t have a whole lot of time to put together their Oscar movie spoof — they stepped in after producer Brett Ratner stepped down and host Eddie Murphy followed suit with just weeks to go before the trophy show.

On Monday morning, Kimmell joked to the Associated Press about his hosting duties: “I hope to be able to do for the Emmys this year what Eddie Murphy did for the Oscars.”

Anyway, “Movie: the Movie” — which starred Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, J.J. Abrams, Tyler Perry, Samuel L. Jackson and a boatload of others — went viral. It was seen by more than 10 million viewers on Oscar night, and has since garnered nearly 15 million views on YouTube — and who knows how many more on ABC.com and hulu.com. Seriously, ABC didn’t know as late last week that “Movie: the Movie” had opened on nearly 6,000 movie theaters nationwide and would run through April 26.

Getting back to ABC and why it’s taken so long to give Kimmel the Emmy hosting gig:

Last time ABC had the Emmy broadcast was in 2008 — the year it was hosted by a committee of reality-series hosts, including Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest. And they’ll be remembered for having cleverly decided to toss out their prepared opening material and ti wing it — just like they do on their reality shows!

The next morning, ABC execs flung themselves on casting couches and chewed the cushions in an ecstasy of grief — the trophy show had attracted the franchise’s smallest audience in its history : a mere 12 million viewers.

According to Probst, they were getting e-mails from Kimmel as they were dying on stage, saying: “You guys – try this! Here’s a couple of lines.”

“He gave us jokes, he tried everything to save us,” Probst told Seacrest the next morning on Seacrest’s syndicated radio show.

“I don’t know if it helped or not,” Probst added. “I couldn’t watch it this morning when I got up.”