The world won't know what hit it when Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday.
"We are gonna pull a prank on the world. On the world," Kimmel tells TVGuide.com. "It's important to be watching because you can be a participant or a victim. It will be interactive. It's at some point during the show, so you have to watch. If watercoolers still exist, it will be watercooler talk afterward. It will be water bottle talk because it'll be the biggest prank ever. "
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The prank is just one of the tricks Kimmel, a first-time host, has up his sleeve. And it's all part of his ultimate goal: make the telecast fun.
"I want people to come out of there and go, 'Huh, that wasn't bad this year,'" he says. "I've been in that audience, and there's nothing sadder than seeing people [crumble] up their acceptance speech and sit there and try to enjoy the rest of the show. Toward the end of the night, you're sitting in a room where 80 percent of the people, if they stick around, have lost. That's not exactly a crowd that's ready to laugh. It is a challenge, and I do want to make the show as much fun as possible. It's their awards show and it's their celebration, just like any other industry ... and it should be fun."
Besides his global prank, Kimmel promises "a lot" of star-studded filmed bits (might there be a TV Show: The TV Show trailer?). Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will be in a "very, very funny" one, but he's keeping mum on a possible appearance by his pseudo enemy Matt Damon. And how about his new BFF Oprah Winfrey? "I believe Oprah is over at her girls' school right now in Africa, so I don't think this is at the top of her priority list."
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Even without help from his pals, Kimmel believes there will be enough laughs to keep the sometimes unbearably lengthy three-hour show entertaining and moving along. One of his biggest awards show pet peeves is when the host vanishes during the middle of the telecast and returns in the final few minutes. But Kimmel says executive producer Don Mischer has formatted this year's show, which will be divided by genre (comedy, drama, variety, reality, miniseries/TV movie) for the fourth year in a row, in such a way that he will be on throughout — if all goes according to time.
"If the show starts to get long in the first half, they have to pick up the slack somewhere," he says. "But the way we have it designed, I will be involved in the whole show. Flow is important. You want it to be funny and entertaining throughout and not in pieces."
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All the planning, filming and brainstorming has taken Kimmel's mind off Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s first nomination for Best Variety, Musical or Comedy Series. "I honestly haven't given that a second thought," he says. "Maybe when they're announcing the names I will, but I really don't expect that we're going to win. Jon [Stewart] always wins. Nine years in a row — you can't ignore that. Even if Jon doesn't win, Stephen Colbert has been nominated a lot of times and hasn't won. It's a pretty formidable group as far as competition goes. I'm just happy we got nominated for the first time. That's exciting."
The breakthrough nod is just one of the highlights of Kimmel's year. Last month, ABC announced that his show will move to the 11:35 p.m. slot in January and upped his contract through 2015. Once you toss in the Emmy hosting gig and possibly the world's biggest prank, can any year top 2012?
"I think the year I discovered masturbating might be the only one that was better," Kimmel says.
The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards airs Sunday at 8 pm ET/5 pm ET on ABC.