Emmys: Seth Meyers cautiously optimistic for ratings success

Host Seth Meyers participates in a panel for the

Host Seth Meyers participates in a panel for the "The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards" at the Television Critics Association NBCUniversal Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 13, 2014. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

The Emmys are this week, but if you're looking for them on Sunday night, you'll find pre-season football instead.

The 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on Monday. Aug. 25 – yes, that's right, not only in August, but a Monday – and broadcast live on NBC and CTV.

“Look, no matter what happens, I'm so excited for the network to spin the numbers (ratings) on Tuesday,” Emmys host Seth Meyers said.

“I hope it's not relevant, I really do. And the reality is, it doesn't matter. How I approach the show is going to be the same.

“But I don't think we'll ignore it. I think everyone who will be at the Emmys will be aware, and that's the most important thing, because your job (as host) is to keep the energy in the room up. So I think that will be a thing that everyone there will be hyper-aware of.”

The reason the Emmys aren't being held on a Sunday in September, as has been the norm in recent years, is because of NBC and the NFL. The Emmys rotate between the big networks in the U.S. (although they remain a constant on CTV in Canada). This is NBC's year, but NBC has a ratings behemoth known as Sunday Night Football. The Emmys wisely shy away from Labour Day weekend, and with the NFL season starting on Sept. 4, the whole month of Sundays in September is pooched.

So August it is, but the Emmys weren't even marquee enough to knock a pre-season NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals off NBC's sked.

Funny, isn't it, how TV has become way more important in terms of its overall product, but sometimes the networks treat the Emmys ceremony like an unwanted houseguest.

Maybe it's time the Emmys moved to cable TV, where most of the best shows are anyway?

Future aside, Meyers – formerly of Saturday Night Live and now the host of Late Night with Seth Meyers - will try to navigate these choppy waters this year.

“Any time you do one of these things, you're as lucky as the year you're doing it,” Meyers said. “I feel sometimes there are Oscar years where you just realize there's no big movie, and it's just an impossible job for a host.

“I feel certainly the most ready I've ever felt, but I think I'd feel more ready a year from now as well. It's great to be able to do a monologue every night. That has been so helpful for approaching something like this. I'm happy I hosted the ESPYs a couple of times. I'm happy I did the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Because I think my skill set is always going to be in the monologue and understanding how much work you have to put into getting a really good monologue to open a show like this.

“The monologue at the ESPYs (the first time he hosted) was really fun. I remember having a joke about how the ESPYs was a combination of sports and celebrity, which makes it like a Kardashian's bedroom. And then cutting to Reggie Bush, and getting a laugh out of him, which was really nice. But the first time I did the ESPYs was three days after the first LeBron James decision (2010). So it was a perfect time to be doing a monologue about sports. And then I did it the next year (2011), and it just wasn't as rich a year. So you are at the mercy of what's going on.”

The man who precedes Meyers weeknights on late-night TV is Jimmy Fallon, another SNL alumnus who now hosts The Tonight Show. Fallon hosted the Emmys back in 2010, so Meyers was asked if the two of them have spoken about it.

“We haven't talked much (about the Emmys specifically), but I would say the best way to learn from Jimmy is to watch his example,” Meyers said. “I was at the Emmys that night, and I will say that I thought Jimmy built the Emmys perfectly around his strengths. He and I have different strengths, but I will try to sort of adopt that model. The thing you are allowed to do as the host is to make it the kind of show that you think you can do the best job at.

“I'm limited by the fact that I can't sing or dance. So I have to tell jokes, and the monologue is the best place to tell jokes. Having been a nominee and a guest of the Emmys in the audience, that first 10 minutes is the best time to get the audience to laugh, because as the night progresses, more and more people are disappointed. So you want to be out there when it's hopeful and optimistic, as opposed to coming out sort of in the last hour and saying, 'Hey, I want to try some new material now that you guys are bummed out and want to be drinking.' ”

Drinking on a Monday night? It is Los Angeles. Hey, why not?

“To have something different (the Emmys taking place on a Monday) actually makes it more fun as a host,” Meyers said. “Whether or not that helps with the actual ... ”

Seth Meyers' voice trailed off. Tune in Monday for the philosophical ending to that sentence.

 

Twitter: @billharris_tv

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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