Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony Awards for the third time Sunday. The sooner he is appointed Award-Show-Host-For-Life by Hollywood and Broadway, the better for all of us. His cross-demographic appeal and talent put him head and shoulders above everyone else. Here's why:
1. Massive geek appeal. Harris isn't just the star of the web hit "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog". His geek cred goes way back. On the big screen, his scenery-chewing turn as a slightly diabolical psychic spy in "Starship Troopers" was one of the only bright spots of the film. He's done voice work for "Justice League" and "Robot Chicken". He was even the voice of Peter Parker. But don't let the producers of "Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark" know that. We like NPH in one piece, thanks. The geeks love him, and will tune in just for him.
2. Mainstream success. I trust we don't need to go over "Doogie Houser, M.D". But in addition to giving us one of the most iconic television characters of the early 90s, he regularly steals scenes in "How I Met Your Mother", now in it's seventh season. Hard to believe he's been the womanizing Barney Stinson almost twice as long as the adorable Doogie. Between these two shows, mainstream America knows he can act and adores him.
3. Musical chops. We know he can sing from his previous award show appearances and "Dr. Horrible." But if you missed him as Robert in the revival of "Company", I truly feel sorry for you. He also played the demanding role of the MC in "Cabaret". And let me tell you, filling Alan Cummings' shoes is no easy feat. So he's got the talent and pedigree to host whatever award show needs him. Except maybe the Espys. But maybe even them.
4. Smart business sense. When Harris is hosting, America watches. Almost 7 million people tuned in last year to watch the Tonys. And while that is roughly the same as the year before, Harris brought in the crucial 18-49 demographic, posting a 9-percent year-to-year gain in that most important of viewing groups. Back in 2009, when he hosted the Emmys, ratings went up as well. Higher ratings and more viewers means better ad revenues.
5. Eye candy. Let's face it. He's an attractive guy. An attractive guy that can sing, dance and be funny at will. What's not to love?
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