Two-time Emmy nominee Neil Patrick Harris is thisclose to signing to host the 61st annual Emmy Awards airing Sept. 20 on CBS. Harris is one of the stars of the hit CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" and has proven to be a valuable utility player for the Eye network. The network that airs the awards fest usually picks one of its own tribe as ringmaster, then gets the TV academy to rubber stamp the choice.
In June, Neil Patrick Harris emceed the Tony Awards for CBS, earning good reviews while boosting the audience tuning in to these theater kudos. And in April, he hosted the TV Land Awards for that cable network, also owned by CBS parent company Viacom.
On that kudocast, he wowed with his performance skills – doing impersonations of "Happy Days' " Ritchie Cunningham, "Love Boat's" Gopher and "Match Game's" Charles Nelson Reilly – and endurance too. While rehearsing a skit about "Survivor," his back got burned, but he went on with the show.
Neil Patrick Harris came to fame on TV's "Doogie Howser, M.D." in his teens. He then spent most of his 20s carving out a niche for himself in theater. He starred on Broadway and regionally to much success in productions of Tony-winning tuners such as "Cabaret" and "Rent."
Then, four years ago, Harris returned to series TV as the lovable lothario Barney on the Monday night hit "How I Met Your Mother." For that role, he has contended at the last two Emmy Awards, losing the supporting race both times to Jeremy Piven of "Entourage."
Though Harris let the presenters and winners take center stage during most of the Tony Awards telecast, he closed the show by belting out a sassy number with lyrics penned for him by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman ("Hairspray") sung to the tune of "Tonight."