Nobody knew quite what to expect going into this year’s Academy Awards telecast as the show would be going without a host for the first time in years. However, most would probably agree that the show went pretty well, all things considered, and a significant ratings jump for the show would seem to indicate the audience was into the idea. Now it looks like the hostless show worked out so well, that the Oscars could end up sticking with that format for the foreseeable future.
The head of ABC Entertainment Karey Burke, the network that has the deal to broadcast the show until 2028, tells Deadline that the network was happy with this year’s show, and has no interest in changing next year’s show. According to Burke…
I believe we will not mess with that format to the best of our ability. We’re extremely proud of how the show turned out creatively.
Going without a host for this year’s Oscars was never the intention, but after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the decision to remove Kevin Hart as host amid controversy, it seems the Oscars organization was simply unable to find a replacement. The lack of host was a necessity, but one that ended up working out largely in the show’s favor.
Of course, just because ABC is ok with there not being a host doesn’t mean for certain that’s the way things will go. The host is actually hired by the Academy, and while ABC certainly has some influence over how the show goes, the Academy doesn’t have to listen. The word is ABC was the force behind some of the recently proposed changes, like a new "popular film" Oscar, and while that idea was not implemented this year, it doesn’t mean it might not be incorporated in the future.
This year’s Oscars received a 12% increase in viewership over the previous telecast which hit an all-time low in the ratings. While it’s hard to know for sure exactly why more people tuned in for this year’s show, it’s certainly understandable that ABC would be afraid to change anything for fear of losing that ratings boost.
Of course, at the same time, it’s unlikely that we’ll simply be getting a carbon copy of this year’s Oscars over and over again into the future. While this year might have seen a much needed ratings bump, it doesn’t mean this year’s ratings were all that impressive. ABC is going to want to build on the success, not simply let it ride.
I’m certainly in the camp of people who wouldn’t mind seeing the show stay without a host. As a movie fan, I’m there for the awards and anything that helps to keep them front and center is a good thing. I’d rather the winners be given every possible second of time to give their speeches. While there’s nothing wrong with having a host, this year’s show did make it clear that one isn’t needed, which at least leaves that option open if the right host isn’t available.