The Academy seems intent on playing things safe for the foreseeable future. It was announced today that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the 2015 Oscars ceremony, marking the duo’s third-straight telecast. The 2014 Academy Awards ceremony pulled in 43.7 million total viewers, marking the most-watched telecast since 2000, so the Academy presumably didn’t feel the need to shake things up. Ellen Degeneres did a fine job of hosting this year, but I thought the structure of the ceremony itself was unremarkable so I’m not exactly over-the-moon about the news of Zadan and Meron coming back. After all, this is the same duo that put together a “tribute to movie musicals” during the 2013 ceremony that was essentially a celebration of Chicago—a film that they themselves produced.
Regardless, the overall enjoyment factor of the ceremony will come down to the host, so now we await that announcement later this year. Personally, I’m in favor of just having Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host everything. Read the full press release after the jump, and sound off in the comments with who you think should host the 87th Oscars on February 22, 2015.
CRAIG ZADAN AND NEIL MERON RETURN TO
PRODUCE THE 2015 OSCARS®
Motion picture, television and theater producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a third consecutive year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.”
“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,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“We are delighted to work with Cheryl, Dawn and the Academy to produce the Oscars for a third time,” said Zadan and Meron. “We’re proud of the show’s success over the last two years and are eager to embark on another entertaining show to honor this year’s motion pictures.”
The 86th Oscars on March 2, marked the return of host Ellen DeGeneres, and featured memorable musical performances by artists including Pharrell Williams and U2, a tribute to “The Wizard of Oz” by Pink, and a star-studded, record-breaking selfie seen around the world.
The show drew an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers, delivering a 13.7 rating among adults 18–49 (Live+7), and reached 74.6 million viewers watching 6+ minutes, the best since 2004. The Oscars were TV’s most-watched entertainment telecast in 10 years and attracted the biggest viewership in 14 years. The show helped drive increases for the second consecutive year, marking 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%). Social media activity was particularly robust with more than one billion impressions generated on Twitter and 25 million interactions happening on Facebook on Oscar® Sunday. Additionally, DeGeneres’s selfie became the most retweeted photo of all time with 32.8 million views.
Zadan and Meron’s feature film, television and theater productions have earned a total of six Oscars, 11 Emmy® Awards, two Tony® Awards, a Grammy® Award, five Golden Globes®, two Peabody Awards, five GLAAD Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. For film, they executive produced the 2002 Best Picture winner “Chicago,” which won Oscars in six of the 13 categories in which it was nominated. Their credits also include the feature films “Footloose” (2011), “Hairspray” (2007) and “The Bucket List” (2007). Zadan also produced the original “Footloose” (1984).
For television, Zadan and Meron executive produced last year’s groundbreaking “The Sound of Music Live!” which drew a record-breaking 21.3 million viewers. Their other critically acclaimed credits include last year’s miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde,” the TV series “Smash” and “Drop Dead Diva.” The duo has also produced such Emmy-nominated television movies as “Steel Magnolias,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” as well as “Annie,” “Serving in Silence,” “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and “Gypsy.”
On Broadway, they recently produced the revivals of the Tony-winning “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, and the Tony-winning “Promises, Promises” starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.
Zadan and Meron’s upcoming projects include executive producing the television musical “Peter Pan Live!” Their new MTV comedy series, “Happyland,” premieres this summer. For the big screen, Zadan and Meron are producing “Pippin” for the Weinstein Company, a musical based on the extensive Beach Boys song catalog for Fox 2000 Pictures, and “Monster High” based on the Mattel franchise for Universal Pictures.
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.