Oscars Will Likely Remain Host-Free in 2020: ‘Not Messing With That Formula,’ ABC Boss Says

Upfronts 2019: Karey Burke points to February special’s TV ratings momentum

Olivia Colman Oscars
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Don’t expect the Oscars to bring back a host for the 2020 ceremony.

“We’re extremely proud of how the show turned out creatively and how well it performed this year, so I think you will see us not messing with that formula to the best of our abilities,” ABC chief Karey Burke said on Tuesday, pointing to the TV ratings momentum from February’s special, which had no emcee.

Burke continued: “What I’m learning about the Oscars process is a lot of it — it really does shape throughout the course of the year based on what movies the audience is finding, and that starts to lead the creative and the thinking about what kind of telecast the Academy wants to put on in partnership with us. So they really are conversations that continue to evolve over the course of the year, but right now we’re unbelievably happy with the results from this year and so I think you’ll see, hopefully, we’ll have that same kind of success and that same kind of push with the show this year.”

The Academy hasn’t yet announced the producers of the 2020 broadcast, and they likely won’t be chosen until after a new AMPAS president is elected in late July or early August. When pressed about whether someone like Jimmy Kimmel would be likely to step back in as host, Burke reiterated that it’s the Academy’s decision to make, and one that won’t come for some time.

“I’m not saying no to anything at this point,” Burke said. “I’m not being evasive we just don’t — it’s not something that the Academy makes decisions about until later in the year.”

2019’s Oscar broadcast brought in 29.6 million viewers despite the lack of a host, a 12 percent increase from 2018 when Jimmy Kimmel hosted for the second time in two years. And reviews of the show itself were relatively positive compared to years past, with viewers largely agreeing the show moved quickly.

This isn’t the first time Burke has addressed the question of whether to bring back an Oscars host. In March, she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and said that ABC was already in conversations with the Academy about what to do for 2020.

“We are extremely happy with how the show went,” Burke told THR. “Odds are you’ll see us repeating what we consider to be a successful formula.”

Kevin Hart was at first attached to host the Oscars in 2019, but he stepped down from the job after Hart’s old tweets and comments that were considered homophobic got resurfaced. The Academy then proceeded without a host, opening the broadcast with a performance by Queen and Adam Lambert.

Jennifer Maas contributed to this report.