After experimenting with the format to solid results and increased ratings this year, ABC has signaled that the Oscars are likely to remain without a host when they air in 2020.“I believe we will not mess with that format to the best of our ability,” ABC Entertainment head Karey Burke told reporters on Monday, although she also wouldn’t rule out the idea of Jimmy Kimmel returning to host.
This year’s hostless telecast wasn’t exactly planned. Producers first reached out to Dwayne Johnson and entered preliminary talks about him hosting, but his tight schedule forced him to back out. Then they offered the gig to Kevin Hart, who accepted and then backed out within 48 hours after refusing to apologize for homophobic jokes from his past. So with the deadline approaching and everyone else in town turning them down, the Oscars moved forward without a host, and it was… fine?
Indeed, this year’s telecast went surprisingly smooth after all the turmoil that preceded it—including the removal of key categories from the broadcast, only for a last-minute decision change spurred by outcry within the industry. The hostless format worked well, as the show kicked off with a short monologue from presenters Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph. And without a host interrupting with mildly funny bits every 20 minutes or so, the show seemed to run much more swiftly.
So yeah, as a lifelong viewer and fan of the Oscars, I’m pretty OK with the show going without a host next year. Especially if that means all 24 categories will continue to be televised. They key, as always, is enlisting talented producers to steer the show in a direction that is deferential to the craft of filmmaking while also not too enamored of the industry.
What do you think folks? Are you glad the Oscars will likely move forward without a host, or would you rather see someone like Johnson or Kimmel take over? Sound off in the comments below.