Lynette Rice
August 15, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In what could be either a cunning ratings ploy or a sign of the apocalypse, five reality show hosts — Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst, and Ryan Seacrest — will emcee ABC’s Sept. 21 telecast of the 60th Annual Primetime Emmys. The role of glorified traffic cop is usually reserved for home-team talent (think Seacrest as host of Fox’s telecast last year — or better yet, don’t), but rather than give Jimmy Kimmel a much-needed opportunity to broaden the audience for his late-night talk show, ABC decided to capitalize on this year’s flashiest new category — best reality/competition show host — by putting the five nominees on double duty. ”Comedians have a terrific take, but their humor is based on making fun of things,” explains Vicki Dummer, a senior VP at ABC, about the decision. ”We wanted the anniversary show to be a celebration of TV. It can be fun without taking shots.” Clearly, she’s never seen Probst mouth off at an immunity challenge.

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