Neil Patrick Harris Sublime as Emmy Host

Actor won kudos for song and dance and sublime wit hosting 2009 Emmys.

ByLuchina Fisher
September 20, 2009, 11:52 PM

Sept. 20, 2009— -- Neil Patrick Harris is having a banner year and it continued Sunday night, when he hosted the 61st primetime Emmy Awards.

Clearly Doogie Howser has grown up and come a long way from his first role on television as a boy genius doctor. And we have watched it happen.

As Harris pointed out in his opening monologue: "I grew up on television. I love infomercials. I'm a reality show junkie. The news, not so much. I love award shows."

And the "How I Met Your Mother" star proved that he's good at hosting them, too. With an opening song-and-dance number admonishing viewers to "put down the remote," he showed off his singing chops by scatting the call letters to a couple dozen networks and drawing applause from the audience.

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 a list of the Emmy Winners, click HERE.

"Survivor" host Jeff Probst, one of the five reality show hosts to helm the Emmys last year, even complimented Harris while accepting his award for best host of a reality show.

Later, backstage Probst said last year's experiment in hosting was a "failure."

"I couldn't be happier for Neil," he added. "Watching him, I'm thinking, 'This is how you host a show.'"

Jon Stewart also gave kudos to Harris while accepting his award for best variety show.

"You're doing a wonderful job," he said to Harris. "These shows usually suck."

Some of the night's funnier moments came from the women of comedy. When the names of the best supporting actress in a comedy series were read, each woman wore a different pair of eyeglasses. Amy Poehler wore an eye patch. But Vanessa Williams shook her head as if to say, "No way."

Kristin Chenoweth, the winner, gave a tearful speech then made a plug for a new job, since her show "Pushing Daises" had been cancelled.

Backstage, she said she and Poehler had conspired to come up with the glasses gag. "We're the funny girls. We have to do something," she said.

Emmy Award Show Gets Makeover From Neil Patrick Harris

Another funny girl, Sarah Silverman wore a mustache and a slightly deranged expression when her name was announced as a nominee for best actress in a comedy series. Toni Collette was the surprise winner for her dark role in the Showtime series, "The United States of Tara."

Naturally, there were a couple Kanye West jokes. Harris said, "Here's hoping Kanye likes '30 Rock.'"

And Ken Howard, the erstwhile star of "The White Shadow," made a Kanye reference when he won best supporting actor in a movie for "Grey Gardens."

"This is very encouraging," said the actor who won his first Emmy. "I'll make it as short as possible in the hope that I won't be interrupted by congressman or rapper."

Predictably, Tina Fey and her show "30 Rock" were big winners. Alec Baldwin picked up an Emmy for his role in the show. And there were lots of thanks given to Lorne Michaels, including from singer Justin Timberlake, who won an Emmy for guest hosting "Saturday Night Live."

When Fey accepted the award for best comedy series, she thanked NBC for keeping the show on the air, even though "we are so much more expensive than a talk show."

Other big winners for the night: Jessica Lange for best actress in a movie for "Grey Gardens;" Glenn Close for best actress in a dramatic series for "Damages;" Bryan Cranston for best actor in a dramatic series for "Breaking Bad."

"Mad Men," for the second year in a row, took home the trophy for best dramatic series.

And in a testament to Harris, the host and producer, the show only ran long by four minutes.

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