The late-night host for ABC has agreed to host the 95th Academy Awards for the third time.
Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, who have produced award shows in the past, were revealed to be producing the program on September 17. Their appointment demonstrated the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ dedication to putting producers with “live TV knowledge” back in charge, one of the objectives that Bill Kramer, the Academy’s newly appointed CEO, had outlined on a call with media in August. (Steven Soderbergh, the director of the 2021 telecast, and Will Packer, the producer of the 2022 telecast, respectively, produced the broadcasts.) Kimmel’s wife, Molly McNearney, is a longtime executive producer and co-head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The big show, which is scheduled to air on March 12, 2023, will be subject to intense rating pressure. Nearly 17 million people watched the most recent episode, which was hosted by the trio of Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes. This was an increase from the year before when there was no presenter and the show was toned back, but it was still well below previous episodes. The Academy and its host network, ABC, were aware that it was the second-lowest-rated Oscars show ever. Naturally, the 2022 ceremony will be remembered for both the contentious choice to prerecord and broadcast an edited-down presentation of eight awards as well as Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock — much as Kimmel’s first stint as host is frequently known for “Envelope-gate,”
Kramer and Janet Yang, the Academy’s newly elected president, convened an all-member gathering in September where telecasts from the past and present were examined. Kramer stated to members, drawing amusement, “From our recent member poll, we heard from our Academy members that they did not adore the 94th Oscars.” Only 2 percent of Academy members liked the Fan Favorite, only 17 percent approved of the prerecorded awards, and fewer Academy members are watching the full show — 67 percent for the 92nd, and 59 percent for the 94th. It received a 20 percent positive rating from Academy members, compared to 61 percent for the 92nd. He promised to address their concerns and said that the Academy was dedicated to “honoring all trades and disciplines on air” during the Oscars ceremony in conversations with ABC, drawing a thunderous ovation from the audience.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! was canceled by ABC a month and a half before the announcement of Kimmel’s hiring. The program will continue through its 23rd season thanks to a fresh three-year contract signed by the presenter. Long before his weekly television hour, Kimmel has shown himself to be an increasingly important tool for ABC and parent Disney. He has twice hosted the Oscars, several times emceed the Emmys and makes an annual appearance at the upfront presentation when he is known for mocking his network and its rivals. Additional series for the network that he created and hosted included the recently nominated Live in Front of a Studio Audience with Norman Lear.
Making the announcement in early November rather than mid-February, when the 2022 hosts were announced, assures that he and his team will have enough time to prepare. Kimmel has previously described hosting the Oscars as a “highlight of [his] career.” Kramer admitted that the Academy would also benefit from hiring its broadcast producers and host sooner than in the past and tying them up for multiyear commitments so that fresh individuals don’t have to learn the roles from scratch each year during the conversation with media in August. It’s unknown if Weiss, Kirshner, or Kimmel have committed for a longer period.
It’s either a fantastic honor or a trap, Kimmel said, to be asked to host the Oscars for the third time. In any case, I appreciate the Academy for reaching out to me so soon after everyone else had declined.