x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Fallon formula worked for 2010 Emmys, so Lynch promises 'same again'

The Glee actress Jane Lynch is to host the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday.

A star-studded red carpet, a silly spoof or two and perhaps an amusing musical number may very well be par for the course when UAE viewers tune into the live airing of the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards early on Monday on the OSN First channel. And as celebrities hand out the angel-wing hardware to their peers, the Glee actress Jane Lynch, host of the television awards show, will be ruling the stage.

"I mean, I'll do anything that works," says Lynch, who is best known for her Glee alter-ego as the conniving and aggressive cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester.

The veteran actress, who won her first Emmy last year, is again a nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series this time around, and for the same role. She made a cameo appearance in last year's opening number with the late-night chat-show host Jimmy Fallon at the helm.

As master of ceremonies, Fallon offered witty, guitar-comedy stylings, fun twists and entertaining musical numbers, all of which went down surprisingly well with both fans and critics. For once, most agreed, the Emmys had delivered an honestly entertaining evening of television.

The creators of this year's instalment have taken the lessons of success to heart, and hope Lynch will spin more of the same magic that worked so well for Fallon.

"I hope we'll do a song-and-dance number at some point in the show," says Lynch, in an interview with The National. "We're still homing in on what we're doing, but I had such a good time doing that last year, and I was so honoured that they asked me to do it, and Jimmy was fantastic.

"I didn't realise at the time that I was watching him to see how I would do it next year. But I look back on it and go, 'He did such a good job.' He was so relaxed, and the show was all about his energy, which is very open and funny and smart, and I take great comfort in that."

The show's executive producer, Mark Burnett, best known for the Survivor franchise as well as The Apprentice, Shark Tank and Expedition Impossible, knows when to do more of what is proven to work. "It's not broke, I don't need to fix it," he says.

Burnett said Lynch was his first "and only" choice" to host this year.

"She has incredible comedic timing and is a charismatic, talented actress whose energy leaps off the screen and stage. Jane has been incredibly engaged. She's not a host who wants to be given lines. She's totally in the writer room and having the equal number of ideas as the writers."

If Lynch loses track of the comic timing that has served her so well in the past, viewers can at least rely on a steady stream of stars to fill their screens: there are 504 separate nominations in categories and areas this year.

Five of the 12 nominated drama and comedy series are first-time nominees, while seven of the 12 are US network programmes.

Many of the best drama and comedy nominees are shown in the UAE, including Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Glee and American Idol. Mildred Pierce, a five-part mini-series that was shown on OSN this summer, has 21 nominations, including Best Actress in a Lead Role for Kate Winslet and a nomination for Guy Pearce for his supporting role.

Many of the nominated lead actors can also be seen in the UAE, including Laura Linney in The Big C, Johnny Galecki in The Big Bang Theory and Steve Buscemi (in his role of an illustrious lifetime as corrupt Prohibition-era politician Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in Atlantic City) in Boardwalk Empire, as well as supporting performers such as Betty White in Hot in Cleveland with her 17th nomination and Ed O'Neill in Modern Family.

Notable guest-star nominees include Elizabeth Banks and Matt Damon in 30 Rock, Gwyneth Paltrow and Dot-Marie Jones in Glee, Idris Elba in The Big C, Nathan Lane in Modern Family and Zach Galifianakis in Saturday Night Live.

Although it's a given there will be at least one Kardashian on hand, Burnett says don't expect to see many reality "personalities" on Emmy night.

"The truth of the matter is, reality television is seven out of the top 10 TV shows on television all the time, the most viewers by far," says Burnett. "However, it's not full of stars. And therefore, it doesn't translate to an awards show because people are tuning in for glamour. [The Emmys] celebrate glamour and stars.

"So I am, like, the biggest offender for changing my mind, because I was complaining when we weren't getting enough nominations for our [reality] shows and now I'm producing [the Emmys] - and now I'm all about the stars."

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday night from California and can be seen in the UAE at 3am on Monday and again at 7pm on OSN First.