By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 16, 2013 at 11:24PM
Truth is, producing or hosting the Oscars is a thankless task. Alec Baldwin says it's a miracle they can get anyone to host the "flabby, tired show." Sure, occasionally a host can pull it out, but most of the time the media just piles on. As they did in February with newbie Oscar host Seth MacFarlane--who plans never to host again--and the musical Oscar show produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
But the ratings were excellent and the show played well inside Hollywood, if not with critics. So the Academy isn't wasting any time moving on to next year. Hawk Koch is getting through his one-year Academy presidency decisively, making various changes as he goes, but he's sticking with his music-friendly guys. According to him, the Academy wants to "establish continuity with this year's enormously successful show," and wanted them to proceed apace toward Oscar night on ABC on March 2, 2014 with Zadan and Meron on board.
The MacFarlane-hosted Oscars drew an average audience of 40.3 million total viewers and delivered a 13.0 rating among adults 18-49. The show was TV’s most-watched entertainment telecast in the last 3 years, and grew its overall audience for the 2nd straight year (+3%), surging 11% in adults 18-49 (13.0 rating vs. 11.7 rating) to its best numbers since 2010. In addition, the show scored gains year-to-year with adults 18-34 (+20% - 11.3 rating vs. 9.4 rating), hitting its highest number in 6 years – since 2007. Overall, it was the Oscars second-most-watched telecast since 2005.
That may also be due to 2012 being one of the best years in Hollywood history for great movies, since 1939, according to Harvey Weinstein. But the Academy believes in Zadan and Meron. “Craig and Neil have great relationships, a sense of showmanship, and a passion for our Academy,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “And they’re a pleasure to work with. All perfect qualities for our show."
Zadan and Meron ("Chicago," "Hairspray," TV's "Smash") plan to bring back the Oscar Experience College Search, which allows young filmmakers to bring the Oscar statuettes on-and-off stage during the show. The producers have earned a total 73 Emmy, 12 Tony, and seven Grammy® nominations.
So who will be brave enough to host the Oscars?