The Academy's deal with ABC to televise the Oscar show, which was not due to expire for another three years, has been extended through 2020, the Academy and the Disney/ABC Television Group announced on Thursday.
Negotiations to extend the contract began early in the year, Academy executive director Bruce Davis told TheWrap in January. "Normally we wouldn't begin for at least another year," he said at the time, "but this time around we want to get a head start."
ABC has broadcast the Oscar show every year since 1976, and another 10 times from 1961 through 1970. Altogether, the network has aired the Oscars 46 times.
The current contract, which has been extended for an additional six years, was signed in the wake of the 1998 show, which drew the largest television audience ever for the Oscars. Before agreeing to that deal, the Academy turned down an extremely lucrative offer from a cable network that would have meant more money for AMPAS, but a smaller television audience.
“ABC is absolutely the very best place for the Academy Awards, a television event that is beloved and watched by millions of movie lovers all over the world,” said Academy president Tom Sherak in a press release announcing the extension.
Added Bruce Davis, "The network has consistently demonstrated an understanding of what makes us unique, and has energetically supported those qualities.”
The vast majority of the Academy's annual operating income comes from the broadcast rights to the Oscar show.