Actor Neil Patrick Harris to host Emmy Awards show

LOS ANGELES Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:47pm EDT

Host Neil Patrick Harris performs the closing number during the 63rd annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York, June 7, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

Host Neil Patrick Harris performs the closing number during the 63rd annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York, June 7, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Neil Patrick Harris, best known as the star of TV comedy "How I Met Your Mother," will host the prime-time Emmy Awards in September, organizers said on Monday.

The selection of Harris, 36, marks a return to a more traditional hosting format for the annual ceremony, which hands out television's top honors and is broadcast live in the United States.

Last year, in a nod to the impact of reality TV, the job of hosting the prime-time Emmys was given to five reality show emcees whose ad-libbed presentation and lack of rehearsal was widely panned by critics.

Harris hosted Broadway's Tony Awards in New York in June and with his teenage start has a long career on TV, in movies and on the stage.

"We already knew Neil as a fantastic actor and performer, but after blowing everyone away as host of this year's Tony Awards, we couldn't think of anyone better to emcee the television industry's biggest award show," said Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment which will air the show September 20.

"He is not only engaging as a host, but has great instincts when it comes to live television. We feel like we're in great hands," Tassler said.

Harris said he was looking forward to the challenge and "adding my own voice to it, while honoring the nominees and the entire year in television. But which voice to choose? I'm torn between gangsta, foppish Brit, and robot. Really proud of my robot. We'll see what happens on the night."

Nominations for the 61st prime-time Emmys are due to be announced in Los Angeles on Thursday.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Vicki Allen)

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