Oscar 2014 ceremony: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to return (photo: Oscar 2013 host Seth MacFarlane)
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return next year as producers of the Academy Awards ceremony, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Hawk Koch announced earlier today. The Oscarcast will air on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Zadan and Meron executive-produced Rob Marshall's 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago, whose cast members -- Richard Gere, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Queen Latifah -- were presenters at this year's ceremony. The duo's other movie credits include the relatively recent remakes of the musicals Footloose and Hairspray, and the comedy-drama The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Additionally, Zadan also produced the original Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon.
“Craig and Neil have the overwhelming support of the Academy's Governors to produce the Oscars again in 2014," Hawk Koch was quoted as saying in a press release. "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."
That's proof positive that poor reviews and widespread criticism notwithstanding, what truly matters when it comes to the Oscarcast -- much like any other televised awards show, from the Golden Globes to the MTV Movie Awards -- are viewership ratings. In fact, that's why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association brought back Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais the year after he created quite a stir, following pointed jabs directed at Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Hugh Hefner, Charlie Sheen, and Robert Downey Jr, not to mention the HFPA itself, its members, and its nominations for the widely panned Johnny Depp / Angelina Jolie thriller The Tourist.
Oscar 2013 television ratings
Hosted by Seth MacFarlane, the 2013 Oscar ceremony was watched by an average of 40.3 million viewers in the United States. It was the most-watched entertainment telecast on American television in the last 3 years, up 3 percent from 2012, and soaring 11 percent in the coveted 18-49 demographic to its best figures -- a 13.0 rating -- since 2010. (That's the year James Cameron's Avatar was in the running for Best Picture; Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were hosts; and Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, Twilight's Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart, Star Trek's Chris Pine, and The Hangover's Bradley Cooper were among the presenters.)
Additionally, the 2013 Oscars surged 20 percent in the 18-34 demo, reaching its highest viewership figure -- an 11.3 rating -- since 2007. Overall, it was the Academy Awards second-most-watched telecast since 2005 (this year's Oscar show also trailed the 2010 ceremony), when Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture, and Hilary Swank and Jamie Foxx were named, respectively, Best Actress and Best Actor.
Seth MacFarlane Oscar 2013 controversy
Oscar 2013 host and American Dad / Ted / Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane elicited a barrage of criticism, with some (quite possibly with short memories) referring to him as the Worst Oscar Host Ever. MacFarlane also angered some feminists -- among them Jamie Lee Curtis and two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda -- who found his ditty "We Saw Your Boobs" aka "The Boob Song" offensive. (However juvenile and out-of-place, the song was harmless; those who criticized it opted to ignore its obviously self-mocking lyrics, much like some opted to distort MacFarlane's clever jab at George Clooney, insisting it was a tasteless jab at nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.)
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Seth MacFarlane Oscar 2013 host photo: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S.