Neil Patrick Harris on the Emmy Awards

NPH previews the 2009 Emmys Awards.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Neil Patrick Harris on the Emmy Awards

NPH is going to host the 2009 Emmys Awards. The television awards will air in September, with Harris at the emcee. Right now he is shooting a film in Montreal so was only available via satellite. His interview suggests a surprisingly formal ceremony from the How I Met Your Mother and Harold & Kumar star. 

Q: Can you hear us on the satellite feed? 

Neil Patrick Harris:  Word. 

Q: How will you bring the glamour back to the Emmys? 

Neil Patrick Harris:  I was hoping to maybe be able to bring in Gallagher and do that sledge-o-matic routine. I don't know.  I want the show to be as classy as it can be.  My whole thing with hosting a show like that is to be as sharp. It's like you're hosting a big joint dinner party sort of Dean Martin style.  So I feel like it's not an opportunity for the host to show everyone how funny he is or how talented he is.  It's really to represent the show and to keep things at a tight clip and to let's the audience see all these famous people in a different context, so I like the glamour element of it very much. 

Q: Do you get a producer credit on the Emmys? 

Neil Patrick Harris:  Well, the producing element of it is just so that I have a little bit of creative control, just so that I can help come up with ideas as opposed to just have writers send stuff that I just approve or don't like.  I kind of wanted to be involved in it from the get go. I'm distracted easily by this three-second delay.  I feel like I might as well be in Bangladesh or something.  I'm in Canada. This is the retribution for all the How I Met Your Mother Canada jokes we've told  over the years. 

Q: What have you learned from other awards shows you’ve done? 

Neil Patrick Harris: Having had so much fun on the Tonys and being so sort of involved creatively with all of that, it just seemed like I didn't want to take a step backwards and have to do the Emmys on a different playing field.  So, yeah, I don't know.  I think the key really is you have to sort of try to win the audience there, live, over, because they'll in turn get your back and have your support for the rest of the show and for their laughs and their attention.  But you also are talking really uniquely and specifically to the one person that's at home, watching the show live.  So that's a weird sort of faction.  From the previous things that I've hosted, I don't know.  It's a lot of teleprompter reading and a lot of preparing yourself for exciting spontaneous things that can happen and writing witty jokes and things, but you want to keep it fast.  I've never been a fan of the shows where the hosts are constantly trying to entertain.  I just don't feel like it's that show, so I will actually, probably lean towards serious and boring over whacky and crazy, because it is a big night for all these people.  All these people are dressed up, this is their big night of the year, and I think it's important to honor that and not be drunk. 

Q: Do you feel bad for the writers that their awards are going to be edited on the time shift delay? 

Neil Patrick Harris:  Well, I think the writing is uber-important.  I have the utmost respect for them.  I think there is a bit of a miscommunication about what the time-shifting thing means.  I mean, it's not like they're happening on a different evening and they're all going to all just be montaged together.  We're just trying to edit down the standing and the hugging and the getting through the aisle and the walking down the aisle, and quite frankly, the writers' speeches are some of the best ones of the night.  So we'll be able to highlight them, if anything, more. There's some boring parts of that that we're just trying to trim down.  So I did not know anything about petitions or showrunners being upset by that.  I hope that they won't be when they see what we end up doing.  It's certainly not out of a lack of respect or anything.  It's just so that we can show the best show we can to the audience.  I don't think, either, it's cable versus network.  We really just want to show the best of the TV season, and then, while we're at it, honor the shows that have been nominated.  So I don't think that the writers will be getting any more short shrift than actors or the two directors or the two other awards that are getting time-shifted, but it doesn't seem even like that much of a slight.  The only slight is that everyone is going to have to get there 45 minutes earlier and walk the red carpet about an hour early.  Otherwise, it's the same show