It came down to the wire — the Emmys are next month, after all — but NBC and the Television Academy have finally found a host for this year’s ceremony: “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson.
Thompson, the longest-running cast member in “SNL” history, was named after a lengthy search by NBC, the Academy and Emmys producers Done+Dusted and Reggie Hudlin to find an A-list name that might shake things up. It turns out, the A-lister was in their own backyard. The telecast will air live Sept. 12 on NBC, and stream on Peacock as well.
“Being a part of this incredible evening where we honor the best of the television community is ridiculously exciting, and to do it on NBC — my longtime network family — makes it even more special,” Thompson said in a statement. “Like all TV fans, I can’t wait to see the stars from my favorite shows.”
The choice of Thompson is a reminder how much of a presence he has at “SNL,” and ergo NBCUniversal — despite the fact that the network canceled Thompson’s comedy “Kenan” this spring after two seasons. Thompson has plenty of hosting experience over the years; last year, he hosted both the 2021 Kids’ Choice Awards and the 47th People’s Choice Awards (which aired on both NBC and E! Entertainment.)
“Kenan is well-regarded as one of funniest, likeable and accomplished performers of the last two decades and his tenure on ‘Saturday Night Live’ speaks for itself,” said Jen Neal, exec VP of Live Events for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We know he’ll bring an excitement and professionalism to the Emmy Awards that a show of this stature deserves.”
In Thompson, the Emmy Awards will rely on a veteran actor, comedian and producer who will enter his 20th season on “Saturday Night Live,” where he has been the longest-running cast member. for quite some time. Thompson will also receive his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star later this week.
Thompson is a six-time Emmy Award nominee, having received two nominations last year for lead comedy actor (“Kenan”) and comedy supporting actor (“SNL”). He was also nominated for “SNL” in 2018 and 2020 in the supporting actor category. He additionally won the Emmy for original music and lyrics in 2018 for the “SNL” song “Come Back, Barack,” and received a nomination in the same category in 2017 for co-writing “Last Christmas” from the “Jingle Barack” “SNL” music video.
Thompson’s other recent credits include appearances in Season 2 of HBO Max’s “That Damn Michael Che” and Prime Video’s “The Kids in the Hall,” as well as two seasons as EP and star of NBC’s “Kenan.” He was also a producer and judge alongside Chrissy Teigen, Jeff Foxworthy and Amanda Seales on NBC’s “Bring the Funny.”
The 74th Emmy Awards airs live on Sunday, Sept. 12 from coast to coast 8 p.m. ET on NBC, and will also stream live and on demand on Peacock.