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There was buzz this week in Hollywood that late night host Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels are in talks to host next year’s Academy Awards. There are conflicting reports as to whether or not the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is really still in talks with them or not.
The buzz caught full steam on Thursday, just two days after Hawk Koch succeeded Tom Sherak as the Academy’s president. The Los Angeles Times cited three anonymous sources who confirmed that Fallon and Lorne were in talks to host and produce, respectively.
The Walt Disney Company’s ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars, wasn’t thrilled with the idea, since it would give two major figures at their rival network, NBC, a huge stage to promote their names. However, ABC has no voice in the matter, since the Academy itself plans the Oscars broadcast, the sources said.
Fallon, who hosts NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, is the chief rival of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Since Kimmel is hosting the Emmys this year, he wouldn’t be able to do the Oscars. ABC reportedly has no issues with Michaels.
Deadline reported that Sherak initiated the discussions just before he left. The Board of Governors, including Koch, had reservations about the idea.
Sherak defended his idea to start discussions so close to his departure in a later statement to the LA Times, noting that he was given the authority to do so two months ago. He wouldn’t confirm if he was talking with Fallon and Michaels, but did say, “I couldn't meet that deadline, so I stopped all negotiations.”
Deadline reports that talks with Fallon and Michaels have already ended and that the Academy will have to start its search for a host and producer all over again.
It is possible that Michaels could still be in the running to produce, since he has a prior relationship with Koch. They both worked on the two Wayne’s World films, with Koch as executive producer. When Koch was named president, he noted that finding a producer for the show is his first priority.
Of course, the Academy still has a long time to make the decision, but they will have to try to avoid the controversy that the Brett Ratner/Eddie Murphy choice created earlier this year when Ratner resigned.