Neil Patrick Harris may have lost his supporting actor race for "How I Met Your Mother," but he sure was a winner as host of last night's Emmy Awards. Following last year's fiasco with the five reality show host nominees as emcees of the Emmys, Harris was hailed by the TV critics as a welcome change.
And the awardscast itself came in for praise as well. Veteran producer Don Mischer delivered on his commitment to bring coherence to the Emmys by grouping the awards by genre. After nixing his plan to "time shift" some of the presentations of Emmy Awards, Mischer and company came up with a show that sailed along for three hours and three minutes.
Writing for Reuters, Frank Scheck said, "Neil Patrick Harris did a standout job, starting with the hilarious opening number, during which he showed his musical talent, and continuing with his mock outrage over losing to Jon Cryer. Harris was affable, charming and simultaneously self-deprecating and comically self-aggrandizing."
For Frazier Moore of the AP, "the Emmycast with Harris in charge not only was remarkably stylish, fun and brisk but could even make viewers forget last year's disastrous format with five hosts, none of whom could rise to the occasion."
Luchina Fisher of ABC thought, "Harris, who was producing as well as hosting the show, kept it moving along. But it's not clear whether he'll be able to boost ratings, which have been sagging over the years for all the awards show. One thing is for sure, though, his fellow performers agreed that he was a hit."
For Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times it was, "Harris, fresh off his success at hosting the Tonys, who set and sustained the smart but lighthearted and convivial tone of the evening. From the moment he walked onstage, itself a richer and more evocative setting than last year's bleak theater-in-the-round, you knew you were in good hands."
And Mike Hale of the New York Times said, "the Emmys were a fast-moving, streamlined show, which made sense: the television academy was not leaving anything to chance. Mr. Harris was genial and efficient as host, making fun of his own loss to Jon Cryer for supporting actor in a comedy. Several presenters and winners made a point of praising him, as if he were a rookie point guard in the big game."
Photo: Neil Patrick Harris. Credit: CBS