Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to Produce Oscars

They will oversee the the 85th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have been named to produce the 85th Annual Academy Awards, the Motion Picture Academy said Thursday.

The veteran producers, whose work spans TV, film and Broadway, had not been involved with the Oscar show before, though they had a major Academy Award winner in Chicago, which they executive produced. The musical was named best picture of 2002 and also took home trophies in five other categories. Together, their film credits also include Hairspray and The Bucket List, and Zadan was one of the producers of 1984's Footloose.

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They are currently represented on TV by NBC's Smash, which they executive produce, and have produced such TV films as A Raisin in the Sun and the upcoming Steel Magnolias. On Broadway, they have produced the musical revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Promises, Promises.

"Craig and Neil are forward thinkers who bring a unique perspective to the Oscar show," said Academy president Hawk Koch, who chose them to produce the Feb. 24 broadcast on ABC. "Their enormous collective talent, coupled with their love of film, serves our show perfectly."

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Said Zadan and Meron in a statement: "We are very excited to collaborate with Hawk and everyone at the Academy to produce this year's Oscars. We hope to utilize our experience in producing features, TV and theater to bring something fresh and special to this incredible awards show. When we filmed The Bucket List, we made our own personal bucket list, and producing the Oscars was #1. It's truly a great honor."

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said:, "Craig and Neil have great talent relationships and bring an infectious energy to the production. They are creative producers in the best sense of the word."