Academy President Janet Yang Promises ‘Improvements’ at Oscars, but No ‘Drastic’ Changes

The Oscars may have a ratings problem, but don’t expect a major overhaul of next year’s ceremony.

“I would say nothing drastic,” Academy president Janet Yang told me Wednesday at the Academy Women’s Luncheon, presented by Chanel, at the Academy Museum. “We like to think [of] improvements and really helping to give the audience a great experience, as well as the viewers on TV.”

It was announced earlier this month that Jimmy Kimmel will return as host for the third time. He last fronted the ceremony five years ago. “The decision was to not play with something that was working,” Yang said of the late-night talk show host’s return. “We have tried different things in the past — I was not directly involved in the past — no hosts, multiple hosts. We just wanted someone solid that would ground the show, and we have so many other fun things that we are working on…We will be making some announcements soon.”

Variety’s Tim Gray urged the Academy to overhaul the whole shebang in a recent column entitled, “Oscar Show Advice: Go Crazy!” “Advice to planners: Be bold,” Gray wrote. “This is not a time for more Band-Aids to the old system. Swing for the fences. Embrace every suggestion that begins ‘This might sound crazy but….’ Don’t massage the ceremony, reinvent it.”

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall hosted the 2022 Oscars, which averaged 16.6 million viewers, making it one of the lowest-rated Academy Awards. Not that the show didn’t get a lot of attention — Will Smith’s assault of Chris Rock on stage went on to overshadow anything else that happened throughout the evening.

Kimmel’s previous Oscars, in 2018, averaged 26.5 million viewers.

Nominations for the 95th Oscars will be announced Jan. 24. The ceremony airs live on ABC on March 12 from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood.

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