Russell Brand is returning to host the 26th annual MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 13 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Last year, the combination of the relatively unknown British comedian with the seemingly never overexposed Britney Spears paid off for MTV as the VMAs pulled in record numbers for the network.
The 2008 VMAs reached more than 23 million viewers. That was a 15% boost from the 2007 hostless edition of the VMAs (best remembered for Britney's bad lip syncing) and a 41% jump from the 2006 awardscast headlined by Jack Black from Gotham.
Russell Brand becomes the latest back-to-back host for the festivities since Arsenio Hall had a four-year run as emcee beginning in 1988 and Dennis Miller emceed in 1995 and 1996. The "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" star told MTV News today, "This year will be a controversy-free festival of love and discrete orgasms."
Does that mean the Jonas Brothers will dare to appear again on the kudocast? Last year, Brand branded the boy band brothers as hypocrites for their wearing of purity rings. The trio took the ribbing in stride and would do well to up their cool factor by making a return to the VMAs.
Of course, Joe Jonas may want to take a pass as his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift is already confirmed as a performer on the awards fest. The Grammy nominee is to sing a new version of "You Belong With Me," a single from her chart-topping album "Fearless." As Swift told MTV News today: "I love incorporating theatrics into my performances, and the VMAs have always allowed artists to run with that. MTV has been so good to me, and I could not be more excited about this year's VMAs!"
Last year, Britney Spears won three Moonmen, including the top prize for video of the year for "Piece of Me." She had lost all 16 of her previous VMA nominations, including her only previous bid for video of the year: "Toxic" (2004). MTV will soon begin unveiling this year's nominees, rolling them out week by week.