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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has re-hired Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce next year’s 86th Academy Awards, which will air March 2, 2014.
It’s not clear whether Seth MacFarlane will return as host. although after this year’s broadcast, MacFarlane himself tweeted that he wouldn’t be making a return.
The move to announce the show’s producers so early represents a break with Academy tradition, since usually the show producers are chosen later in the year by the Academy president. Current Academy president Hawk Koch will complete his one-year tenure this summer, and the board of governors will then elect a new president, who will preside over next year’s Academy Awards cycle.
But Hawk explained in a statement, “Craig and Neil have the overwhelming support of the Academy governors to produce the Oscars again in 2014. In order to establish continuity with this year’s enormously successful show, we felt it was important to give these consummate professionals the green light now to begin creating another great evening.”
While MacFarlane’s hosting drew criticism from some quarters for choices like his “Boob Song,” the February broadcast enjoyed a ratings bump. The show, which drew upon movie musicals from the past decade as an overall theme, attracted an average 40.3 million total viewers and delivered a 13.0 rating among adults 18-49. Its audience was up three percent from the previous year and grew by 11 percent among adults 18-49.
“We are very honored to have been asked to return as Oscar producers for a second year. We look forward to creating a distinctive and entertaining show,” Zadan and Meron said in a statement.
Added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, “Craig and Neil have grat relationships, a sense of showmanship and a passion for our Academy. And they’re a pleasure to work with. All perfect qualities for our show.”
Zadan and Meron served as executive producers of the Oscar-winning Chicago; have produced such Broadway plays as How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying and Promises, Promises; and have produced such TV shows as the NBC series Smash and the telefilms A Raisin in the Sun and Steel Magnolias.
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