The last time ABC aired the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2008, it passed over tapping Jimmy Kimmel as host in favor of the five inaugural reality host nominees. But don't think he holds any grudge about that.
"I wasn't really ticked off to be honest with you," Kimmel told reporters at ABC's Television Critics Association fall TV previews on Friday. "I actually took some satisfaction out of it because everyone, especially you guys, seemed to hate how the broadcast came out. I was able to look good by not doing anything at all. That's my goal in life, by the way."
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Kimmel will have to do something at this year's awards. He's hosting for the first time, and though planning is still in nascent stages, Kimmel knows exactly how he wants the show to go. "I want it to be jazzy from beginning to end," he said. "I'd like to be part of the show throughout. I think sometimes on awards shows, the host is there in the beginning and then he or she disappears until about 45 minutes later. It's nice to be able to comment on things as they're happening and talk about this. ... Hopefully I'll be able to insert myself in the entire broadcast."
With 26 awards to give out in three hours, that leaves approximately 22 minutes for Kimmel and executive producer Don Mischer to fill. "How Jimmy weaves himself in and out of the award presentation, bringing people on or making comments about somebody, that's what makes these things move," Mischer said.
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Video packages — including the always restrictive In Memoriam video ("I love that even in death, you're subject to a popularity contest," Kimmel quipped) — haven't been planned yet, but the format of the broadcast is locked in. For the fourth year in a row, the ceremony will be segmented by genre (comedy, drama, variety, reality, miniseries/TV movie), with the Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series awards handed out last. "That allows us to look not only at the nominated material, but some of the other material that had great impact and success during the season," Mischer said.
Kimmel will also attend the ceremony as a nominee — Jimmy Kimmel Live! is up for Best Variety, Musical or Comedy Series for the first time, a breakthrough he attributes to "attrition." "You hang in long enough, eventually you're part of the group," he said. Despite the nod, Kimmel the host said he's operating on the assumption that no one has seen his show and therefore will not be incorporating a lot, if any, elements from it at the Emmys. "I understand I'm there hosting the Emmys and it's not some extension or expansion of my show," he said. "What you're asking is ... will Guillermo be there? No, he will not be there."
Also surely to be absent? His pseudo enemy Matt Damon ("I despise him"), but his new BFF Oprah Winfrey could make an appearance.
"I have kept in touch with Oprah, I'm confounded to say," Kimmel said. "We don't have anything planned right now. Oprah and I are always talking; it's a constant dialogue. She calls me her new Gayle."
The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards airs Sunday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.