He can saw himself in half, sing a selection of Broadway showtunes and swing on a flying trapeze. When Neil Patrick Harris, one of the stars of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, isn't dabbling in the extraordinary, well, he's probably hosting an awards show.

In the late '80s, Neil—known as NPH to his fans—landed the starring role on Doogie Howser, M.D. After years of child stardom and teen heartthrob status, Neil left the small screen for the stage. He became a respected Broadway actor, starring in shows like Rent, Cabaret and Proof, before returning to television.

Now, millions know Neil as Barney Stinson, the womanizing, slap-happy sidekick on How I Met Your Mother, which begins its fifth season September 21.

Like Billy Crystal and Johnny Carson before him, this man-of-many-talents is also making his mark as an awards show host. On Sunday, September 20, Neil will host the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards. See what surprises he has in store! Also, Neil shares his thoughts on fate, finding balance and making out with his co-star.
Kari Forsee: How are you preparing for Emmy night?

Neil Patrick Harris: I'm just trying to make sure all the comedy host elements are in place. We'll have a good opening bit and a couple surprise things throughout. We want to balance respecting the show and the doling out of the awards with the sort of random things that will keep the audience's attention in other ways. So that's kind of been my job. You want to make it unique and, yet, classic. That's a tricky dynamic.

KF: I can imagine. How often are you rehearsing?

NPH: Well, it's sort of a litany of e-mails and phone calls all day with the producers. We had a great opening short film we are going to shoot, and it would be the first thing you shot. That was going to be with Alec Baldwin, and he withdrew at the last minute. So that got scrapped, and we're off to plan D, E or F. It's sort of like now you go: "That's fantastic, great. We've got that person," or "Oh, that person didn't work. Now what do we do?" A lot of "now what do we do?" questions.


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