Oscar telecast producers return for third-straight year

With ratings on the rise over the last three years, the Academy is sticking with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as Oscarcast producers.

The duo's “showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership,” AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said via press release. Added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, “This year's show reached viewers of all ages and set social media records, proving that Craig and Neil are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist and capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world.”

I wouldn't say a paid-for-by-Samsung bit featuring a selfie and some arbitrary Pink equates to being “masters at tapping into the zeitgeist,” nor would I say anything captures the heart of movie fans around the world more than the movies themselves. But that's me. I feel like this run is going stale (and I was even a defender of the Seth MacFarlane show that got this pair into hot water).

Nevertheless, the numbers speak for themselves. March's show, which ended one of the most competitive Oscar seasons in years and saw “12 Years a Slave” beat “Gravity” to the Best Picture prize, drew an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers and made the Oscars TV”s most-watched entertainment telecast in 10 years. It also attracted the biggest viewership for the show in 14 years. It marked a seven-year high for adults 18–34 (+3%); a nine-year high for teens 12–17 (+13%); and an eight-year high for kids 2–11 (+13%). All the social media numbers are also quoted, but I'm not convinced they mean anything beyond the fact that the Oscars can easily become a meme, so, good for them.

I hate to always bring up Bill Condon and Laurence Mark at times like this, but their 2009 telecast really is the only recent example of how to shake the show up with respect and dignity. I wish the Academy would seek out other options, but I guess consistency is the goal lately.

The 87th annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. With the producers in place, we may hear of a host sooner rather than later, as we did last year.