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Hugh Laurie was almost named Emmy ceremony host!

August 30, 2007 |  4:16 pm


Fox Network came thisclose to naming someone other than "American Idol" emcee Ryan Seacrest as host of the Emmycast on Sept. 16: Hugh Laurie.

Laurie was actually the early first choice of several top Fox exex, who lobbied strongly for him to get the job, according to a TV academy source. Others tubthumped for Seacrest, who's a logical choice since he already hosts America's most popular regular TV program plus specials like New Year's Eve countdowns. The standoff at the network was to blame for any host being named so late. Last year Conan O'Brien's appointment was unveiled in mid-May — three months before the Seacrest announcement this year.

In the end, Fox decided to go with its "Idol" star over its "House" star because exex felt Seacrest would draw a larger TV audience and because viewers might be confused seeing Laurie in an unfamiliar role.

But Laurie, in fact, is an accomplished entertainer beyond just that Doctor Grouch act you see on "House." He's a darn good pianist, for one thing. He performs in a few bands — 16:9 and Poor White Trash — and tickles the ivories in the "House" episode he submitted to Emmy judges in the race for best drama actor, "Half-Wit."

But most noteworthy of all are the wild performances he gave on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie," the outrageous comedy sketch show he did between 1986 and 1995 with Stephen Fry on the BBC. Click below to see Laurie in drag and other loopy poses.