11:04am PT by Lesley Goldberg, Katherine Schaffstall
Oscars to Go Hostless Again for 2020 Ceremony on ABC
For the second year in a row, the Oscars will go hostless.
ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke made the announcement Wednesday during her time before press at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena. ABC will again broadcast the ceremony as part of its long-term agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.
"Let me confirm it now, together with the Academy, that there will be no traditional host this year," Burke said, stressing the ceremony would repeat what worked last year.
Burke, in a March Creative Space interview with The Hollywood Reporter, suggested that ABC and the Academy would likely follow the same successful formula that saw a rare ratings uptick for the 2019 ceremony. "We're having those conversations with the Academy right now," she said at the time. "We are extremely happy with how the show went. Odds are you'll see us repeating what we consider to be a successful formula."
Last year's kudocast, which saw Green Book win for best picture, averaged nearly 30 million viewers, up a whopping 11.5 percent year-over-year, and a 7.7 rating among the all-important adults 18-49 demographic, up 13 percent from a year ago. That bucked a downward spiral for the awards show, which in 2018 hit an all-time low of 26.54 million viewers and a 6.8 in the 18-49 demo.
The 2019 Academy Awards went without a host. While Kevin Hart was originally supposed to host that ceremony, the actor and comedian stepped down from the role following controversial old tweets that surfaced in which he expressed anti-gay sentiments and used homophobic terminology and slurs. The Academy ultimately decided to not replace Hart and instead held the ceremony without a host.
"The main goal, which I’m told the Academy promised last year, is to keep the show to three hours," Burke said at the TCA winter press tour last February when she confirmed that the Oscars ceremony later that month would go on without a host. "The producers decided to wisely not have a host and have the presenters and the movies be the stars. That’s the best way to keep the show to a brisk three hours."
Hart's departure as emcee was not the first time the Academy had to deal with a host stepping down. In late 2011, Brett Ratner resigned as producer of the 84th Academy Awards after saying "rehearsal is for fags" while promoting his film Tower Heist. His exit led to the departure of planned host Eddie Murphy, who stepped down in solidarity. Billy Crystal subsequently took over Murphy's role.
Jon Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal, Seth MacFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Rock and Jimmy Kimmel are among the previous hosts of the Oscars, while Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin teamed to co-host the 2010 ceremony and James Franco and Anne Hathaway co-hosted in 2011.
Recent awards shows have followed suit and chosen to go hostless, including the 2019 Emmy Awards on Fox. But the 2020 Golden Globes did have acerbic emcee Ricky Gervais taking the stage for the fifth time, while Alicia Keys is set to return to host the 2020 Grammys.
The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, on ABC.