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Michael Jackson Estate And 1 Billion Lawsuit, The star of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother previously emceed the show in 2009, when Billy Elliot dominated the awards. He returned in 2011, when the Book of Mormon juggernaut ruled the night. As a producer, Harris shared an Outstanding Special Class Program Emmy in 2010 with executive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment for their work on the ’09 show.
Frontrunners for the 66th Annual Tony Awards, which will air live on CBS from New York’s Beacon Theatre Sunday at 8pm E.T., include the new musicals Once and Newsies; revivals Follies and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; new plays Clybourne Park, Other Desert Cities and Peter and the Starcatcher; and play revivals Death of a Salesman and The Best Man.
The Hollywood Reporter: This being your third time hosting the Tonys, does that make it a breeze or even more of a challenge?
Neil Patrick Harris: I think in many ways it’s more challenging because I don’t want to just rest on what I’ve done before. So I’m trying to come up with new ways to do things. Thankfully, the meat of the Tony telecast is the performances from the shows, so the awards show kind of creates itself around the season, and then I fill in based on the vibe of the season in general. I’m happy that there’ll be so many legitimately good performances on the show. That was my big worry.
THR: But it still requires considerable skill to tame the beast, no – to tie it all together, give it a flow and a binding personality?
Harris: Without question, but the job of host in this context is less to entertain and more to pass the baton and introduce. That’s the duty of the Tonys – it’s not only about giving out awards but showing an exorbitant amount of actual performances. It becomes more about setting tone, and making people feel comfortable and welcome.
THR: Given your affection for the theater and how rarely you get to do it these days with your TV schedule and two young children, do you have some kind of special affection for the Tonys?
Harris: Yeah, that’s incredibly accurate. It allows me to still be in the theater world. It allows me to see a bunch of shows – sometimes complimentary, which is a perk. And it allows me to promote it and help keep theater in the cultural zeitgeist.
THR: Among the legendary awards show hosts is there anyone in particular that you admire and regard as your ideal model for the job?
Harris: I was a big fan of how Johnny Carson hosted awards shows. Dick Cavett, as well, I think did a really great job of providing a nice blend of comedy, wit and class. You know, everyone gets dressed up; you’re wearing a tux. So it’s a fancy night, but you still want to feel like it’s a party you want to go to, and it’s not stuffy. If you steer one way or the other you can get in trouble, and I think both of those guys handled that balance really well. (Hollywood Reporter)