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David Hill and Reginald Hudlin will produce the 88th Oscars, it was announced by the Academy on Tuesday.
Hill, an experienced producer of sports programming who most recently served as the senior executive vp of 21st Century Fox, and Hudlin, the writer, director and producer who received a 2012 Oscar nomination as producer of Django Unchained, will taking over the reins of the show for the first time. Hudlin has some experience producing Academy events, though, having produced the sixth annual Governors Awards, which were held last November. Hudlin becomes only the second African-American to produce the show, following Quincy Jones, who produced the 68th Academy Awards, which were held in 1996.
The awards event will be broadcast by ABC on Feb. 28.
“We’re delighted to have this talented team on board,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in making the announcement. “David is a true innovator with a dynamic personality. His vast experience as a live events producer, coupled with Reginald’s energy, creativity and talent as a filmmaker, is sure to make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one.”
While Hudlin is primarily known as a filmmaker with credits that include Boomerang, The Great White Hype and House Party, he also has experience as a live-broadcast producer, having produced the NAACP Image Awards since 2012. He was the first president of BET Networks from 2005 to 2009 and is currently a partner in Milestone Media, a multiethnic comic book imprint distributed by DC Comics, as well as New Nation Networks, a content provider with a partnership with Google. In addition to being an Academy member, he is a member of the DGA, WGA, PGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Hill recently left Fox, where he spent more than 25 years in a variety of roles, to start his own production company, focusing on live and reality TV. During his tenure at Fox, he also served as chairman and CEO of Fox Sports Media Group, during which he oversaw the integration of new technologies and multiplatform services across the U.S. While he contributed to hundreds of Emmy nominations and awards for the network, he personally received an Emmy for outstanding live sports special as an executive producer of the 2011 World Series broadcast. He also has served as an executive producer on the last two seasons of American Idol.
For the past three years, the Oscars have been produced by the team of Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, which allowed for some continuity from year to year in staffing up the complex — and always heavily scrutinized — undertaking.
While their first two shows, hosted by Seth MacFarlane and Ellen DeGeneres, respectively, saw ratings increases, with the DeGeneres-hosted edition hitting a 10-year high of nearly 44 million viewers, ratings for the most recent show, with Neil Patrick Harris as emcee, dropped by nearly 15 percent to 36.6 million viewers.
The first order of business for the new producers, who will be under pressure to reverse the ratings decline, will be to line up a host to serve as the face of the broadcast.
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