How The Emmys Did As A Virtual Broadcast With Host Jimmy Kimmel

jimmy kimmel abc 72nd emmys 2020

The 72nd Emmys have come and gone, but hosting wasn't business as usual for Jimmy Kimmel this year. While the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host served as the master of ceremonies at the Emmys twice before, it was never like this. The Emmys went remote for 2020 so that the presenters and nominees could adhere to social distancing guidelines in light of the pandemic. After the 2019 Emmys went down without a host, the 2020 Emmys went down on September 20 without almost everybody, and here's how Jimmy Kimmel did as host.

All things considered, Jimmy Kimmel covered all the bases that needed to be covered with the virtual 72nd Emmys. As the host of the only major late night talk show that is broadcast live, Kimmel was uniquely suited to play master of ceremonies for the Emmys this year, as he knows how to roll with the punches, fill silences, and more or less keep things from getting too awkward with most of the celebrities appearing via webcam.

Was the Emmys broadcast a three-hour block of nonstop laughs, with the exception of the more poignant speeches and the In Memoriam segment that opened with talk show legend Regis Philbin and closed with Marvel star Chadwick Boseman? Not quite. But I would argue that Jimmy Kimmel didn't need to pull off the TV event of the year or some kind of miracle that would make viewers forget that this broadcast is completely different from the previous 71 Emmys ceremonies. It just needed to go off with as few hitches as possible.

Jimmy Kimmel kept the show going without any crises and hardly any hiccups, crushed with a monologue packed with pandemic jokes, incorporated the few in-person celebrity cameos that were actually possible (including Jennifer Aniston, Anthony Anderson, and Laverne Cox), and did it all without coming across as rushed or uncomfortable. I don't think this will go down as among the best hosting gigs in the history of the Emmys, but it did what it needed to do.

That said, there were some moments that even a host with so much late night live hosting experience couldn't quite overcome. Mark Ruffalo's emotional speech went longer than most, and there was no band to start playing him off, and cutting off his video or muting his mic would have been a lot more awkward than a mic being cut off, like what happened with Sterling K. Brown's acceptance speech a few years ago.

The surprise Friends reunion with Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow popping up being Jennifer Aniston seemingly had a slight delay putting them behind Jimmy Kimmel, so there was a bit of awkwardness there. Still, I think the 72nd Emmys were pretty solid on the whole.

Dan Levy's reactions to every single Schitt's Creek win got the night off to a great start with the comedy categories before things got dramatic with a bunch of Succession wins, and the other nominees' reactions to Zendaya's sheer joy and celebration at winning Outstanding Lead Actress for HBO's Euphoria were downright heartwarming. And hey, the broadcast only went a few minutes late, with just one category that hadn't been finished before 11 p.m. ET!

There wasn't a lot of spectacle in what is usually a spectacular event, and the jokes weren't the same without an audience actually laughing along, but what could have been a mess of a broadcast went well, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Jimmy Kimmel back as host for a fourth time. Be sure to weigh in our poll below about how Kimmel did as Emmys host, and check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule for some upcoming viewing options.

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Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).