Last year at the Emmys obviously one of the big hits was the opening number with you and Jimmy Fallon and the whole gang. At this point, are you able to confirm any sort of follow up to that in your version of the Emmys?
Follow up, no. I think we started it from scratch and we didn’t try to follow up on anything from last year. But I’m pre-taping right now for the Emmys, and I don’t want to tell you what it is. It will spoil the surprise.
And then as far as Glee, I was just wondering—back at TCA Kevin Riley said that he sees this season as really going back to basics. Is that anything that you’ve seen in the early scripts?
Yes. I think what he was talking about is sticking to the story lines of our regular characters, because you know we had a great season last year but we did kind of go all over the place with guest stars and had a lot of fun with that. And we’re kind of honing in on these stories of these kids, especially in light in the fact that several of them will be graduating at the end of the year.
Wondering if you’ve had any input from any previous Emmy hosts regarding what you can expect and what their tips have been for you?
No, I haven’t had- and I know several of them. I know Neil, and Ellen, and Jimmy, and Jimmy sent me flowers, but not really. No, nobody has given me any tips.
If Sue Sylvester were giving you tips on hosting the gig, what would Sue’s tips be?
Well somehow find a way to give all of the awards to yourself, I think, would probably be her advice.
Can you tell me who’s writing your- I’m sure you’re writing some of it yourself, but can you tell me who’s helping you with your material for the telecast?
Yes, Jill Soloway, who’s a good old friend. We worked together on Real Live Brady Bunch, and lived in the basement of her house for several years when I was younger. I’ve known Faith, her sister, and Jill for a long time. In fact, Faith is a wonderful songwriter and will probably be adding something. She’s coming in for the last two weeks. Well she should be coming in soon. So Faith and Jill are kind of my touchstones and Jill’s directing the thing we’re doing today, and she’s written it. And it’s just great to be working with her. I’m in good hands.
Are any of the Glee folks pitching in jokes or anything?
Not yet. We’ve kind of been hunkering down with just getting what the show’s going to look like and what will be in it, but we will be reaching out, I think, very, very soon.
Can you just tell me if there are any changes in the way the awards are presented?
There was talk about this and they kind of haven’t bothered with me on it, but I think we’re going to have some little things you haven’t seen before that we’ll introduce. All of the major categories—you know there’s four major categories; drama, comedy, reality, and TV movie miniseries, and I think we’re going to do something a little unique to launch those parts of the show.
Is there any aspect of hosting the show that particularly concerns you going in?
What I’m concerned about is I do well and don’t make a fool of myself. I mean I trust my writers and everybody working on the show knows what they’re doing I’ve worked with this crew on the Emmys last year, the Do Something Awards. Every time I’ve done an awards show, it’s the exact same crew. They know what they’re doing so I really feel like I’m good hands. What concerns me, I want it to be interesting and funny and also serve the purpose of the show, which is to honor television and people in it, and make sure we keep the eye on that. But the little bites that we get to do something fun and funny, I feel responsible for those that those need to be entertaining.
How has working with Mark Burnett been so far and has he roped you into participating in any of his reality shows down the road?
He has not asked me for that, but he has just been the best producer. He has been a dream producer. He’s gotten at a lot of money. He’s really,
really—there are things that creatively we wanted to do, and he said, “Just do it,” and our people at Fox worked very well with Mark. It’s just been a dream in that regard. We’re getting everything we want, and it’s just great. Not that we need like billions of dollars, but they have been really great in okaying our material and our little bits that we want to do. So Mark’s just been great.
You spoke a little bit on your trying not to make a fool of yourself, but overall what is the goal when you’re hosting an awards show? Is it more do you want to make a splash or are you really simply looking to avoid disaster?
No, I think you want to make a splash. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, “I want it to be the best award show ever.” But we want it to be special. It’s such a coveted spot, and it’s like the biggest evening in television they call it. So you want to do it justice. I know I do. I’m humbled by it, and from being in this business long enough I think if you look at the big picture and you shoot past the doing and go to the results, I hope this is fabulous that you’re not going to do very well. So I’m just staying in the moment and knocking out what I need to knock out and doing my best for each moment of it, and you take it a piece at a time. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hope it’s really a splash.
Obviously you’re nominated yourself. Do you think that’s going to affect your nerves during the telecast?
I think my nerves will mostly be focused towards doing the show. It’s almost a relief not to have to think about having been nominated. I’m although very, very honored to be nominated and especially honored to be in the group that I’m in. I think they’re just amazing actresses and there’s such good television. And the network has some really good television too. It’s not just HBO and Showtime, the shows that I usually watch, but I’m watching the network television a lot these days.
If you had to bet your house on something, who do you think is definitely going to win something this year?
Oh, I have no idea. I have no idea, and I can’t say I’ve given it an ounce of thought.
You’ve mentioned that you’ve gone out to the Glee folks about participating. Any teasers that you can give about how you see the cast participating in the show?
No I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t say that because first of all we haven’t finalized it and I don’t want to give anything away.
I love seeing you as Spencer’s mom in something as dramatic and serious as Criminal Minds and then you go from that to the evil stepmother in Another Cinderella Story, which is also hilarious. So with those two alone you really attest to your range and ability. So are we going to see a 360 view of your talents in your hosting job as well?
You know I don’t set out to do that and I don’t think Jill or any of the writer’s are setting out to do that, but we’ve got some things that are definitely different. But I didn’t set out to like, “Let’s show what I can do.”
What is it that you think makes for a good host? Like what sort of qualities are you hoping to take on that you’ve seen work for others?
It’s about the awards and the people who are getting the awards, and it’s about entertaining in between but remembering that it’s a night of celebration of this industry, and that’s what we remind ourselves before every meeting that we have. You know that’s what we’re here for and my job as the hostess to move it along and just that kind of that background energy of “isn’t this wonderful? Look what we’re celebrating.”
Now what was the most unexpected challenge of this gig? The thing that you never thought about when you said, “Yes,” that you’ve been surprised about?
Oh, nothing’s been a surprise yet. The particulars of what we’re doing are all new and exciting, but I have not been surprised yet, like, “Oh my God I have to do that.” So far I don’t have to be propelled onto the stage or anything. So far it’s like, “Okay, I can do that. I can do that.”
Are we going to see you in a multitude of wardrobe changes throughout the ceremony?
You know when people asked me when I first got the gig if I’d be changing my dress every time I came out I was like. “Absolutely not.” But I will be changing my dress every time I come out.
Could you give us one good reason why Sue Sylvester would be a better Emmys host than Jane Lynch, and than one good reason why Jane Lynch would be a better host than Sue Sylvester?
I’ll say Jane Lynch will be nicer than Sue Sylvester. Sue Sylvester would make the show explosive and there would be something—you would walk away with a show you would never forget if it were Sue Sylvester, but it might be kind of war like and angry and violent. But I think a show with Jane Lynch would be a lot nicer and easier to digest.
Catch the 63rd Primetime Emmys tonight 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT live on FOX with the Pre-Emmy show kicking off 7 PM ET / 4 PM PT.
Check out the Emmys backstage live webcast.
Season Premiere of Glee Tues 8/7c Sep 20.