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Television's biggest stars will shine the brightest Monday night, when NBC and WBIR air the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Late Night host Seth Meyers is hosting the who show, which is airing extra early this year, a scheduling hiccup you can blame on NBC's Sunday Night Football and MTV's Video Music Awards, airing Sunday.

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Look for Meyers to yuk it up.

"Really good jokes are the best things for me to have," says the former Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor, who now hosts NBC's Late Night. "As someone who doesn't have other skills as a showman" — he neither sings nor dances — "I have to build momentum early on. I would love to walk off after the monologue and think, 'We're well on our way.'"

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It's especially urgent to set an early tone because of the fatigue factor that sets in at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for a three-hour ceremony that hands out 26 awards and quickly racks up disappointment. "I'm aware at the Emmys that the longer the night goes, the more people are sitting in their seats having not won the Emmy," Meyers says. "So they're a less receptive comedy audience."

Sprinkled among a few surprise taped bits will be a tribute to Robin Williams, who died last week, led by pal Billy Crystal. "We know he'd want something that reflects the fun he gave all of us," Mischer says.

Helping out with the jokes are Late Night's writing team, a few from SNL, and Poehler and Tina Fey. Since he helped write jokes for their Golden Globes stint, and earned his own Emmy nomination for the task, Meyers says, "I'm expecting at least one good joke from each of them."

USA TODAY’s TV critic Robert Bianco tells Carly Mallenbaum why this year’s award winners are more unpredictable than usual, and shares his picks for best drama, comedy and mini-series.

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