Hosts for the annual Emmy Awards ceremonies throughout the 21st Century have almost always been comedians. For the most part, they bring just the right tone of roasting the nominees and celebrating the previous TV season. With a four-way rotation of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, the host selection also typically comes from that network’s stable of talent. Scroll through our photo gallery above (or click here for direct access) to take a tour of the past two decades of all the hosts, good and bad. Then be sure to vote in our poll below to tell us who’s your favorite Emmys host since the year 2000. (Note that there were no hosts for Fox’s ceremonies in 2019 and 2003.)
The century began with the late, great Garry Shandling hosting the 2000 ceremony for Fox (he later returned in 2004). His first stint parodied “Survivor,” which had premiered that summer, with a tribal council bit with late-night hosts, and his second featured a “Larry Sanders Show” reunion with Jeffrey Tambor.
Next up was Ellen DeGeneres in 2001 and 2005, one of just two women to serve as solo ringleader of the Emmys throughout the past two decades (the other was Jane Lynch in 2011). DeGeneres’ inaugural gig was quite memorable, as it was twice postponed due to 9/11 and then the war in Afghanistan, but she struck the perfect tone throughout the evening. One of her best lines was, “What would upset the Taliban more than a gay woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?”
A slew of white male talk show hosts swapped in and out of the Emmys’ head seat throughout the years, including Conan O’Brien (2006 and 2002), Jimmy Fallon (2010), Seth Meyers (2014), Stephen Colbert (2017) and Jimmy Kimmel (2020, 2016 and 2012). It’s often in their contracts to have the first right of refusal to serve as Emmy host when the ceremony rotates back to their network.
Popular actors from the home networks’ shows were also chosen by Emmy producers to preside over the ceremonies, including “Glee’s” Lynch for Fox, “How I Met Your Mother’s” Neil Patrick Harris (2013 and 2009) for CBS, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” Andy Samberg (2015) for Fox and “The Neighborhood’s” Cedric the Entertainer (2021) for CBS.
During the reality TV boom of the early 2000s, reality host Emmy nominees Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest shared emceeing duties together in 2008, one year after “American Idol’s” Seacrest presented solo in 2007.
Finally, the last two times NBC broadcasted the Emmys, in 2022 and 2018, it hired “Saturday Night Live” stand-outs to serve over the proceedings: Kenan Thompson is set to appear on the September 12 ceremony four years after Michael Che and Colin Jost co-hosted together.
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