UPDATE with Academy and producer quotes: It was one of the worst-kept yet longest-gestating secrets that Jimmy Kimmel would host the 2017 Oscars. Now it’s official, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected the ABC late-night host to top the show.
The news will mark the first time ever that all four big awards shows in a row are hosted by the corresponding network’s late-night host as the shows serve as promotional tools for them. This year, Kimmel hosted the Emmys on ABC, Jimmy Fallon hosted the Golden Globes on NBC, James Corden hosted the Tonys and will host the Grammys, and now Kimmel the Oscars.
“The Oscars are in great hands with Jimmy,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in a statement released after Kimmel taped his late-night show and mentioned the news. “He is razor sharp, funny, and unpredictable, and has proven himself a master of live event television, which is perfect for our audience around the world.”
Official outlets including ABC and the Academy had been mum on making an official announcement of the host earlier today, leaving Kimmel to do his own work on Twitter:
Kimmel has been something of an obvious choice, for several reasons: he hosted the Emmy Awards this year and did a good job; ABC, which has more of a say in the proceedings since the network renewed its deal to broadcast the Oscars through 2028, badly wanted its signature late-night host and would be comfortable seeing him become an Oscar fixture even though he does not have any kind of movie pedigree; the Academy got such a late start on its search that it was impossible to find anyone else. Sources had reported early overtures to the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Tina Fey. They didn’t pan out. Kimmel is a safe choice, particularly with less than a dozen weeks to go before the Oscarcast. Big star talent is usually booked nine months to a year in advance, and preparing for the global glare of an Oscar broadcast is an all-consuming task.
“The Oscars are in great hands with Jimmy,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson in an ABC release later in the afternoon. “He is razor sharp, funny, and unpredictable, and has proven himself a master of live event television, which is perfect for our audience around the world.”
While ABC has been pushing hard all along, incoming Academy Awards producers Jennifer Todd and Mike De Luca had said recently that they had actually been expanding their search for a host since the pair landed the gig November 4 — also traditionally a late date to snag producers. Kimmel seems a practical solution for everyone. His staff has just been through the rigors of an awards show, and can get up and running quickly. Kimmel has some movie credits including providing voices in Garfield, Road Trip and The Smurfs 2, and appearing as himself in Ted 2, Hellboy II and Project X.
“Jimmy’s ability to connect with people is what makes him a singular choice for this job,” said De Luca and Todd. “His frank observations, relatable persona, wry humor and love of all kinds of film make him a natural fit for the Oscars stage.”
The 2017 Oscars are set for February 26 on ABC. Last year’s ceremony was hosted by Chris Rock.