Neil Patrick Harris, the former child doctor turned mugging sitcom star, has been tapped by CBS to host this year's Primetime Emmy Awards, the September ceremony that honors millionaires for going to work. Harris is also hosting the Tony Awards for CBS this year, repeating his double-duty routine from 2009. Basically if CBS wants something hosted, they're going to Neil Patrick Harris. Why? Eh, because why not.
Harris is charming enough, he's a song and dance man, he likes to smirk wryly after all his jokes, which helps people know when to laugh. (CBS does that with all of its comedy — it's helpful!) He's a perfectly safe and serviceable choice to host evenings of glitz and self-congratulation; he teases the whole thing just enough to seem mildly irreverent, but never so much that it gets uncomfortable. I prefer Harris when he's hosting the Tonys — it's a smaller world, with more specific inside jokes — but, sure, he's perfectly fun at the Emmys. I'm sure there will be lots of crowing about CBS's success, reigning supreme while the other networks stumble and crumble, and that's OK. What's wrong with a little gloating on an already boastful evening?
Might there have been a more daring choice? Sure. But this is the Emmys. It's not exactly an evening of risk-taking. I suppose you could make the argument that as TV rapidly evolves so too must its most glittery awards show, but what does that really mean? Millionaires dress up and gives speeches and thank one another and someone tells a few jokes at the top of the show. There isn't much to do with that, revolution-wise. Yeah it'd be fun to see, say, Amy Poehler or Tina Fey up there, but they're pretty establishment too, aren't they? The boat isn't going to rock much no matter what, and Harris is CBS's in-house host guy, so there you have it. Of course How I Met Your Mother ends next year, so who knows how the relationship will progress from there, but for now, Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting all the things, and there's nothing we can do about it.