O'Brien will return to the gig he first (and last) handled in 2002

By Stephen M. Silverman
May 19, 2006 04:55 PM

The 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will offer a sense of d j vu come Aug. 27, when Conan O’Brien will return to the job of emcee.

The Late Night with Conan O’Brien host, 43, last did the job four years ago, and did “a tremendous job,” says Dick Askin, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “We’re thrilled that he’s returning.”

O’Brien is also in line to takeover hosting the Tonight Show once current star Jay Leno leaves that program in 2009. O’Brien has been the star of his own NBC show since 1993.

Emmy co-producer Ken Ehrlich calls O’Brien “a student of television” and told the Associated Press the host will bring “credibility and knowledge” to the awards show, which will be broadcast from Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium, on NBC.

“He’s funny and he really likes television,” says Ehrlich. “That bodes well for what we can do this year

Meanwhile, Broadway’s Tony Awards are something of an orphan. The June 11 ceremony – to be broadcast on CBS – has yet to name a host, though the name that keeps popping up in theatrical circles is Oprah Winfrey, who has produced this season’s musical The Color Purple.

Usual Tonys host Hugh Jackman is said to have other commitments this year.