Ricky Gervais to host Golden Globes

'The Office' co-creator appeared on recent Emmy telecast

The 67th annual Golden Globes has added a bit of edge with the announcement that Ricky Gervais has been tapped to host the Jan. 17 live broadcast on NBC.

The Globes, which have been promoted in recent years as a free-wheeling celebrity party, haven't called upon the services of a host since 1995, when TV regulars John Larroquette and Janine Turner emceed the 52nd edition.

But when executives from NBC and Dick Clark Prods. sat down with Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. president Philip Berk to discuss the broadcast, the idea of recruiting a host was raised.

"We never thought a host was necessary," Berk said. "Only when NBC suggested the idea that a host might enhance the show, my response was the only person we could consider for the task would be Ricky Gervais, and we were lucky to get him."

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Gervais has proved adept at acerbic awards-show banter at the Emmys and the Globes.

He also has a long-standing relationship with the Globes, which named "The Office," the British comedy Gervais co-created with Stephen Merchant, best comedy series in 2004. That award was considered something of an upset -- "The Office" was then appearing on BBC America and beat out such established series as "Will & Grace," "Sex and the City," "Arrested Development" and "Monk." Gervais also walked off that year with the prize for best actor in a TV comedy series.

During January's broadcast of the Globes, Gervais appeared as a presenter and showed that he knows how to work the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Addressing Kate Winslet, a Globe winner for "The Reader," he joked: "I told you. Do a Holocaust movie and the awards come, didn't I?"

The bit referenced an appearance by Winslet on Gervais' HBO series "Extras," in which she prophetically played herself, working on a Holocaust movie in order to win an Oscar.
During the past couple of years, whenever the media starts compiling lists of potential Emmy and Oscar hosts, Gervais' name has come up.

"I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don't turn down," Gervais said Monday, noting that he'd been promised "free rein as a host."

Gervais most recently starred in the feature "The Invention of Lying." His next film, "Cemetery Junction," will be released in April. He also executive produces the American version of "The Office" with Greg Daniels, Ben Silverman, Merchant, Howard Klein and Paul Lieberstein.

Nominations for the Globes will be announced Dec. 15.