Emmy host Ryan Seacrest said Wednesday that he is forgoing an opening monologue in favor of a musical number at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.
Seacrest said that the Emmy telecast, which is set to air live at 8 p.m. EDT (tape-delayed on the West Coast) on Sept. 16 on Fox, will open with a musical number that he “may or may not be” part of depending on “how confident I feel on the 16th.”
Seacrest — who is on the road as part of his duties as host of Fox’s “American Idol,” which is in the middle of seventh-season auditions — declined to give more details about the opening act, saying that he was being intentionally vague.
“We’re obviously still in the putting-it-together stages, and I’ll be back in Los Angeles this weekend to hone in on what we’re doing with the entire program, but we are going to open the show with a musical number, and that musical number, as you can well imagine, will be like nothing you’ve seen in years past,” Seacrest told reporters during a conference call.
Seacrest is considered a somewhat unorthodox pick to host the Emmy ceremony, which usually is fronted by a comedian. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be humor in the show, he said.
“I’m going to try and make the show fun … and I’m going to try to have a sense of humor about it, and I hope the people watching have a sense of humor, too,” he said.
He also noted that there will be an abundance of comedians appearing on the telecast — from Lewis Black to Jon Stewart to Ellen DeGeneres — to provide laughs, and he also poked fun at himself.
“Some people laugh just by reading the line, ‘Ryan Seacrest is hosting the Emmys,’ ” he joked, noting that the Emmy writers are approaching his script differently than they would for a comedian.
Asked why he decided to take on the hosting gig, Seacrest said: “Why not? It was really an honor to be asked to do it. It was a pretty simple decision. I think if you were me and you were asked, you’d say, ‘Sure, what time?’ “
Seacrest admitted that he hasn’t formulated a plan on how to easily move from the red carpet, where he’ll be hosting E! Entertainment Television’s live coverage before the show, to inside the Shrine Auditorium and onto the Emmy stage. But he didn’t sound worried, saying that Emmy weekend will actually entail less work for him than his daily schedule, when “Idol” is taping and he also serves as lead anchor on E! News and hosts his morning show on KIIS-FM Los Angeles. (For the record, Seacrest said he gets up between 4-5 a.m. weekdays and goes to bed around 8:30 p.m.)
He said he isn’t nervous yet about his Emmy hosting gig — or his role as entertainment host for Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl XLII — but admitted that with “Idol” auditions well under way, he’s been too busy to really sit down and “start looking at what the (Emmy) show is going to be.”
Asked whether there might be a performance of the Emmy-nominated song “Dick in a Box,” originally performed by Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Seacrest said Emmy producers are in talks with Timberlake — whose scheduling would be tricky since he has a show that night at Staples Center in Los Angeles — but that nothing is finalized.
Seacrest did say that once the ceremony is over, it’ll be time to pop some champagne corks. Asked how many glasses he might have that night, he quipped: “When I’m done, it’ll be a matter of magnum bottles, not glasses.”