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Oscars: Producers Michael De Luca, Jennifer Todd in Talks to Return, Possibly With Host Jimmy Kimmel

Variety logo Variety 3/30/2017 Daniel Holloway
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Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are negotiating with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about a possible return to produce the Oscars in 2018, sources have confirmed to Variety. AMPAS is also said to be interested in having Jimmy Kimmel reprise his role as host, but is first looking to hammer out a deal with producers.

De Luca and Todd were tapped to produce the 89th Oscars last year for the first time following an unusually lengthy search. Kimmel was named host in December, on the heels of a well-received turn as host of the Primetime Emmy Awards in September.

The most talked-about moment of the 89th Oscars last month was doubtlessly the initial mistaken announcement of “La La Land” as best picture over actual winner “Moonlight.” But the blame for that incident has fallen squarely on PricewaterhouseCoopers — which this week the Academy announced it would retain as accountant for the show. Kimmel, De Luca, and Todd were not considered to have any responsibility for the mistake.

The Academy was interested in partnering with De Luca and Todd once again even prior to last month’s telecast. “These guys are talent-friendly, let’s call it,” a source says. “They were easy to work with. So everyone thought, should the show do well, they’d like to have them back.”

Continuity is also a big factor in the Academy’s effort to bring the producers back. The process of having to go out and rope in a producer or producers every year is taxing. The organization signed Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to produce the 2013, 2014, and 2015 telecasts, in part, for that very reason.

Kimmel and the ABC telecast as a whole received largely positive reviews for the February ceremony. In her review of the telecast for Variety, Sonia Saraiya wrote, “On a night that frequently ends up being about just one film — or one studio, or one auteur — Sunday night’s Academy Awards felt like they were a joyful, messy tribute to how revelatory and wonderful cinema can be, at its best and most ambitious. They accomplished that by being great TV.”

This year’s Oscars telecast drew an average audience of 32.9 million and a 9.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic — a 13% drop from last year.

Spokespersons for AMPAS and ABC declined to comment. Deadline first reported news of Kimmel, De Luca, and Todd’s possible return for next year’s telecast.

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