The 86th Academy Awards – which will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 2, 2014 – will once again be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The duo also produced 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago. Now that the producers are in place, I’m sure rumors will begin to swirl surrounding the next host. I wouldn’t expect any official word on that position, however, until late September/early October. The smart money seems to be on Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, or even Jimmy Kimmel, and while those might all be fine options, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ellen DeGeneres return to the stage. Have a look at the official press release after the jump.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The acclaimed motion picture, television and theater producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a second time next year, Academy President Hawk Koch announced. The Academy Awards® will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014.
“Craig and Neil have the overwhelming support of the Academy’s Governors to produce the Oscars again in 2014,” said Academy President Hawk Koch. “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.”
“We are very honored to have been asked to return as Oscar producers for a second year,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “We look forward to creating a distinctive and entertaining show.”
“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.”
The February 2013 Oscars hosted by Seth MacFarlane, 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.
Among the innovations that Zadan and Meron plan to bring back to the 2014 show is the Oscar Experience College Search, which allows young filmmakers to assist with bringing the Oscar statuettes on-and-off stage during the show.
The Zadan/Meron Oscars displayed a signature style that incorporated a single concept for the entire evening which linked together the disparate elements of the Oscar show through music, especially classic movie themes and the frequent appearances by MacFarlane to announce the evening’s presenters. The 2013 show was also distinguished by the use of motion picture talent as performers in the show such as the dance numbers performed by Charlize Theron, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Zadan and Meron served as executive producers for the 2002 “Best Picture” winner “Chicago,” which won Oscars® in 6 of the 13 categories in which it was nominated. Their credits also include the features “Footloose” (2011), “Hairspray,” and “The Bucket List.” Zadan also produced the original “Footloose” (1984).
Zadan and Meron’s work in television includes the series “SMASH” and such movies as “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Steel Magnolias.”
For Broadway, they recently produced the Tony Award® winning revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Promises, Promises.”
Their work has amassed 73 Emmy® nominations; 12 Tony nominations; and seven Grammy® nominations.
The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.