The Academy Awards are only one month away, and it was announced this week that the ceremony will not have a host for the second year in a row. ABC’s Entertainment President Karey Burke revealed the news at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday.
Burke explained that the Oscars don’t need a host this year because things worked out just fine last year, and the ceremony will be filled with A-list stars and plenty of entertainment.
Hoping to avoid more host-related missteps, the Academy Awards will skip an official host next month in favor of “big musical numbers, big comedy and star power.” https://t.co/sUUhV3KHbi
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 8, 2020
“Together with the Academy, we have decided there will be no traditional host, repeating for us what worked last year,” Burke said. “[It will have] huge entertainment values, big musical numbers, comedy and star power.”
Jumanji: Next Level star Kevin Hart was supposed to host the ceremony last year. But, he withdrew after some of his old homophobic tweets from a decade ago resurfaced and caused some controversy. After Hart decided to bow out, the Academy opted to go without a host for the first time in three decades.
As it turns out, the move was a success. A Queen medley with Adam Lambert and three “not hosts” – Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph – kicked off the evening with some classic music and comedy. Then, later in the evening, the Academy got their memorable moment of the night when Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga emerged from the crowd and took the stage to perform their duet Shallow from A Star Is Born.
According to Deadline, that is the formula the Academy will continue to follow in 2020 – top entertainers to start the show instead of a host giving an opening monologue, and one or two memorable moments that will bring the views on YouTube and shares on social media.
The 2019 ceremony ended up being a hit after it hit an all-time low in total viewers in 2018. The host-less ceremony was thirty minutes shorter, and saw a 12 percent increase in total viewers from the previous year, plus a 13 percent increase in the 18-49 demographic.
Burke said that last year’s show was “so entertaining” and filled with surprises, and the double-digit ratings increase reflects that. She added that they had great movies nominated last year, but the slate in 2020 will be just as strong.
“We did consider [a host],” Burke said. “There was a lot of conversation which way we are going and maybe there may be a day when we decide to have a host again but the focus has been on most entertaining show.”
The 2020 Oscars air Sunday, February 9th on ABC.