After three straight years as producers of The Academy Awards, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will not return for the 2016 Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are currently seeking a new producer, or producers, for next year's show. Craig Zadan hinted shortly after the telecast that this year may be their last, but stressed that nothing had been officially decided. The Academy's Board of Governors met for the first time since the ceremony on Tuesday night, where the producers' return was discussed, and now it's official that they are moving on.
We reported in March that the Academy was considering a move back to five Best Picture nominees, instead of a sliding scale that would allow for anywhere between five and 10 nominees. Deadline reports that, while nothing about the Best Picture format was decided, their sources claim there was a feeling among the Governors that the telecast needs "fresh eyes." Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's three-year stretch was the longest consecutive run since Gilbert Cates produced three shows in a row, 16 years ago. Neil Meron also revealed to Deadline that they were pondering whether or not they should return before the ceremony even aired.
"Frankly before the Oscars this year were even broadcast, we were questioning whether or not, if we were ever asked, whether we wanted to do it again, and we had long talked about it, and also had casual discussions with (President) Cheryl (Boone Isaacs) and (CEO) Dawn (Hudson) about it way back when, and the past couple of years have been incredible, but at the same time, we've also put a lot of projects on hold, and they haven't been getting our full attention."
Craig Zadan added that, while it was not officially announced, they both signed a three-year deal with the Academy, which has now come to an end.
"What people don't know is that we signed a three-year deal with the Academy, and it was never announced, and it was never revealed to anybody, and they had asked us when we came on would we sign for three years. They said this idea came about because of having people come on for a year, they learned how to do the show, and then they're gone. So there's no continuity, and the ability to work with people for several years in a row seems like a really better way to go. So it was at that point we committed to three years."
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are now going back to their "day jobs," producing Broadway plays and developing live event musicals such as The Sound of Music Live and Peter Pan Live! through their three-year deal with NBC. They also have a three-year deal at Sony Pictures for TV movies and miniseries, and they are currently developing a movie version of the Broadway hit Pippin, which is currently in the scripting stage.