The Real Reason There's No Host For The 2019 Emmy Awards

The 2019 Emmy Awards ceremony airs Sunday, September 22, and fans and nominees alike are eagerly getting ready for the biggest night in television. However, this year, one person will be conspicuously absent from the proceedings. As announced back in August, this year's Emmys telecast will proceed without a host to kick off the festivities — marking the first time since 2003 that the Emmys will forge ahead hostless.

In 2018, Saturday Night Live head writers Colin Jost and Michael Che took the Emmys hosting gig — likely due in part to the fact that the telecast aired on NBC, the same place the late-night sketch show airs. However, ratings hit an all-time low during the 2018 Emmys, so clearly, the top brass thought it was time for a shake-up. 

Going sans host might seem like a strange move, but after some controversy at other awards shows, it's becoming a trend to dispense with the host and let the show either sink or swim on its own merits. Here's why there's no host for the 2019 Emmy Awards, why it might be a good thing, and why it might not work.

Less talk, more TV appreciation at the 2019 Emmy Awards

Over the years, awards shows have been remembered far less for the actual wins that happen during the evening and more for the funny, surprising, and sentimental moments that come out of the ceremony. That can be a good thing (who doesn't love entertaining awards ceremonies?) or a bad thing (it's a bummer when a big win isn't remembered, but an opening monologue is). By going hostless, the 2019 Emmy Awards ceremony is putting the focus back on what matters most: the television series that are nominated. 

Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier explained during the Television Critics Association's 2019 summer press tour that not having a host will allow Fox, the network on which the 2019 Emmys will air, to "give more time to honor" the shows up for Emmys this year. 

"What's interesting about this year to me is how many amazing shows we're saying goodbye to. You've got Game of Thrones, our own Empire, Veep, and Big Bang Theory. You really do have to look at all the trade-offs," Collier said of the ceremony going hostless (via Entertainment Tonight). "If you have a host and an opening number, that's 15, 20 minutes you can't use to [honor] the shows. I look at the honor that is broadcasting the Emmys... and our production team... really have had to balance those trade-offs. We will go hostless this year, and I think it will give us more time to honor those shows."

Going hostless is the new style

The Emmys aren't alone in their hostless journey. Famously, the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony was left without a host after widespread controversy. In the lead-up to the most recent Oscars telecast, Kevin Hart was announced as the host — but after bigoted comments from his past were invoked, Hart stepped down, and the ceremony was left without a host. Rumors swirled about who might get the job in Hart's stead, but in the end, the 2019 Oscars organizers elected to not feature a host at all and instead chose to let the evening proceed on its own – going hostless for the first time since the 1989 ceremony.

After years of floundering ratings and complaints about the lengthy telecast, the Oscars had a lot to prove by going without a host, and the evening actually ended up as a triumph for the Academy. Beyond frustrations from fans over some of the evening's winners — especially the choice to award Best Picture to Green Book rather than a groundbreaking nominee like Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman – the decision to go without a host was largely applauded. Thanks to a brisk pace, charming presenters, and a total lack of unfunny gags that populated the broadcast in years past (which include everything from selfies to celebrity surprises to pizza for everybody), the 2019 Oscars telecast proved that the ceremony didn't really need a host, but just needed to get down to business and hand out awards without unnecessary fanfare. 

At this point, going hostless might be the norm — for the Oscars or for any other awards show. In fact, the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards also progressed without a host, just before the Oscars followed suit.

There's no word just yet on whether the 2020 Oscars ceremony will feature a host or not, but it might be wise for the Academy to stick with this new normal, considering that their hosted ceremonies were getting a bit stale. As we get closer to the next Oscars ceremony, the lack of a host seems like somewhat of an inevitability

Will this same strategy work for the Emmys?

However, the Emmys aren't the Oscars, and it may very well turn out to be a bad call for them to follow in the Academy's storied footsteps by choosing to not tap someone to host the 2019 ceremony. Given that the 2018 telecast was the lowest-rated in Emmys history, it might seem like a radical change would fix things. But without a recognizable name attached to the ceremony, keeping the evening on track and bringing the funnies the whole way through, viewers might still keep their distance — potentially not even tuning in when the night finally arrives. 

That said, the 2019 Emmys going without a host might not have been so much a decision as it was a necessity. After last year's low ratings and the controversy over Hart at the Oscars, it's easy to imagine that famous comedians weren't throwing their hats in the ring to host in the first place.

All in all, it remains to be seen whether or not the hostless Emmys will succeed, but one thing's for sure: it's an interesting experiment for the storied awards ceremony to try out. 

The 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Fox on Sunday, September 22 at 8 PM ET.