Seth MacFarlane will host the next Academy Awards broadcast, and Fox and NBC Universal couldn’t be happier, even though the show’s airing on ABC.
But the reason the film academy decided that MacFarlane’s first appearance on Oscar’s stage should be as host, the academy made very clear in Monday’s announcement, is because MacFarlane’s flick “Ted” — which he directed, co-wrote, produced and “starred” in as the voice of plush-toy bear Ted — has brought in more than $420 million in worldwide box office, making it one of the year’s highest-grossing films. Producer NBC Universal owes thanks to repeat viewing by young guys.
Yes, the film academy is making another bid to bring younger viewers to its orgy of trophy dispensing to the year’s brightest motion-picture luminaries.
Only, it’s a much smarter bid than two years ago, when the academy selected James “Phoning It In” Franco and Anne Hathaway to co-host the show, setting a new bar for Oscar-hosting awfulness.
You and I know the host doesn’t necessarily determine a trophy show’s median age. Take the Hathaway/Franco-hosted show. Median age: 51 . Now look when Billy Crystal hosted in 1998. Median age: 41. Why? “Titanic” was up for Best Picture, resulting in record teen-chick Oscar viewing, according to Nielsen stats.
“I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors . . . and I hope they don’t find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen roast,” MacFarlane said of his selection.
Anyway, the “Ted” reference is a bit embarrassing for Fox, having passed on the flick. We’re guessing that NBC Universal is as pleased as punch with the academy’s pick.
Although an Oscar virgin, MacFarlane is a seasoned show host. He recently got rave reviews for hosting the 38th-season debut of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
And the Charlie Sheen roast was the most-watched show in that long-running Comedy Central franchise, though we’re guessing that had more to do with Sheen being roasted.
Presumably, MacFarlane will be better prepared to host the Oscars than he was as a presenter at the recent Emmy Awards. Tapped to present the award for Best Reality Show Host, he began to read from the teleprompter — only no one could hear him because he was nowhere near a microphone.
“Oh, the mike’s over there! This is what happens when you don’t come to rehearsal,” he deadpanned in his “Family Guy” Stewie voice, when someone brought his mikelessness to his attention.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast by ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24, live across the country. And, by “live,” with MacFarlane hosting, we’re guessing that means a several seconds longer than usual delay, with the finger of the sharpest shooting member of the ABC Decency Police on the trigger. Upon learning of the Oscars’ choice, Parents TV Council tweeted its outrage, citing gags that he delivered during that “vile mélange of explicitly sexual, drug-oriented and racist ‘humor’ ” that was the Sheen roast.