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Oscars Make Big Change, Pick New Talent Producer

Melissa Watkins Trueblood takes over from longtime talent exec Danette Herman, who will consult for next two years

In an innocent-sounding announcement that signals a huge change in the behind-the-scenes world of the Academy Awards, Melissa Watkins Trueblood has been named talent producer for the 84th Oscars.

The bombshell in Monday's Academy release is that Danette Herman, who has worked on the Oscars for 38 years and has served as the executive in charge of talent for decades, will become a consultant for the next two Oscar shows but will not work on those shows in her usual capacity.

Trueblood has served as co-producer or talent producer on a number of awards shows, including the Primetime Emmys, the American Music Awards, the Golden Globes and the People's Choice Awards.

"As the newest addition to our team, Melissa brings a wealth of experience and years of great talent relationships to the table," Ratner and Mischer said. "We know she is going to be a fantastic asset."

Together with producers Gil Cates and Marty Pasetta and supervising producer Michael Seligman (who still works on the Oscar shows), Herman helped create the template for all subsequent Oscar telecasts during her long run with the show.