- Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel has 'some genuinely weird stuff' in store
- He wants to make sure the show doesn't peter out a third of the way through
- He looked to past hosts Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon
- The show will feature 'a couple of things that have never been done, for sure'
As the ringleader of the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will air on Sunday, September 23, the late-night host says he knows this event isn't about him.
"They're not there to see you," he told CNN this week. "People are there to win their awards, and the audience at home is watching to see their favorite actors' shows win."
Hosts, he said, should "add to the festivities" and that's it. "It's not your wedding, it's not your bar mitzvah. It's an important thing to know."
The show will feature nominees and presenters such as Jon Hamm, Giancarlo Esposito, Julianna Margulies and Michael J. Fox. "Mad Men" and "American Horror Story" lead this year's Emmy nominations with 17 nods apiece, while "Downton Abbey" and "Modern Family" round out the top of the pack -- plus a first-time nomination for Kimmel's own late-night talk show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
But it's "The Office" star (and Emmys promo chauffeur) John Krasinski who Kimmel thinks is due for an award.
"I don't understand why John Krasinski has never been nominated for an Emmy. I watch 'The Office' regularly and I think he's really funny," Kimmel said.
"I think it's a weird kind of clique, once you get nominated, you tend to get nominated over and over again, but you have to kind of break through that wall. I also think we love to give Emmys to movie stars," he continued. "We're so thankful that they've soiled themselves to get into our industry with us that we automatically give them an Emmy no matter what."
In addition to "The Office," Kimmel is a regular viewer of "Breaking Bad," "Homeland" and "Game of Thrones" -- shows he loves so much he'll watch them live. Others will wind up programmed on multiple TiVos for when he and fiancée Molly McNearney have time to watch.
"It looks like the command center of Air Force One in my closet," he said. "She puts her shows on one and I put mine on the other, but we usually watch each other's shows. I will admit that I do watch 'Project Runway' in its entirety every week. That's her show that I wind up watching ... and commenting on through the whole thing. Michael Kors is the most orange man I've ever seen in my life. He's orange; it's the only way to describe it. He's an Orange American. That's all I see because I don't know the difference between dresses and fashion and stuff."
But he does know the difference between a solid Emmys hosting job and a so-so one. To prepare for the big show, Kimmel looked back at past hosts Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon -- people he says "have done a great job, which makes it all the more intimidating." He also sought advice from Garry Shandling, who cautioned against trying to fit too many things into the program.
With that in mind, Kimmel's laid out a game plan. "I guess if I have a strategy, it's to try to keep the show lively from beginning to end," he said. "I don't know if that strategy will work out for me, but I'll give it my best, that's for sure. I don't want it to peter out one-third of the way through like it usually does."
But what can he do to avoid that? Simple: "We're going to set a fire," he joked. (We think.)
In truth, he said, he does have "a big plan," but he didn't want to spoil it by sharing it ahead of the show. What he could say is that the Emmy producers have given him a lot of creative freedom.
"I pitched them a number of ideas and they're letting me do some genuinely weird stuff on the show," he said. "I really appreciate it and I'm kind of surprised to how open they've been. There will be a couple of things that have never been done for sure that I think will surprise people in the best possible way."