Just a month after the Academy named Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd as the new producers for the 2017 Academy Awards, a new host has been named. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has been chosen to host the awards telecast, which will take place live from the Kodak Theater at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, February 26. This will mark Jimmy Kimmel's first time hosting the awards ceremony, but he did host the Emmy Awards earlier this year.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the producers are expected to officially announce Jimmy Kimmel coming aboard as host later today. The news also comes months after ABC signed a new deal with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the network to keep airing the Oscar telecast until the year 2028, with the Academy paying ABC $75 million per year. Part of that deal gave the network more creative input, with Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood publicly urging the Academy to give the hosting gig to Jimmy Kimmel, whose late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live airs on ABC.
Jimmy Kimmel previously hosted the Emmy Awards twice, with his debut coming in 2012 and his latest outing coming this past September. This year's Emmy Awards telecast slipped to an all-time low of 11.3 million viewers tuning in, which may not bode well for the Oscars, since they want to increase viewership. This year's Oscars telecast, hosted by Chris Rock, dropped to 34.3 million viewers, an 11-year low. With Jimmy Kimmel now hosting the awards ceremony, it remains to be seen if he will also continue his tradition of hosting a star-studded after-show entitled Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars on ABC.
In the aftermath of last year's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, The Academy added a record 683 new voting members in a new push for diversity, which includes new members such as Idris Elba, John Boyega and Ice Cube. Last year, the Academy only invited 322 new members to join its ranks, and before this new class, only eight percent of the Academy voters were people of color. The new additions will increase that number to 11 percent. Other notable new additions who will be voting for this year's awards include Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston, Chadwick Boseman, Kate Beckinsale, Rose Byrne, Emma Watson, and last year's Oscar winners Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander. Some of the diverse and talented directors who are joining the Academy's ranks include Cary Joji Fukunaga, Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, James Wan as well as Lana and Lilly Wachowski.
Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd take over as Oscar producers this year, following David Hill and Reginald Hudlin, who produced last year's Academy Awards. Their work was preceeded by the the three-year run of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. That three-year stretch was the longest streak by any producer since Gil Cates produced three shows in a row back in the 1990s. He served as producer a record 14 times between 1990 and 2008. Michael De Luca produces the upcoming sequel Fifty Shades Darker, which hits theaters February 10, 2017, while Jennifer Todd produces a potential Oscar candidate with Ben Affleck's Live By Night, which opens with an Oscar-qualifying run later this month, before opening nationwide on January 13, 2017.