Duo tapped for 82nd Academy Awards gig

Oscar has new ringleaders in Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic, who will produce the 82nd Academy Awards.

The duo replace Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, who produced last season’s show, which enjoyed the first ratings boost in years with Hugh Jackman as host.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ board of directors had asked Condon and Mark to return, but film projects didn’t allow them to commit.

The two were first-timers for the job, as are Shankman and Mechanic.

“I couldn’t be happier to have this talented team onboard,” said AMPAS prexy Tom Sherak. “I’ve known Bill for many years, so it’s like putting Oscar in the care of a dear friend. Bill has a tremendous love and respect of film and will draw from his vast experience as a producer, a studio executive and a film historian to help make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one. And Adam’s experience in producing, directing and especially choreography will be a huge asset to the production.”

Shankman, who performed on the Oscarcast as a dancer in the past, and Mechanic will spend the next months developing the show, skedded to air on ABC March 7, including picking a host.

“Together we will build upon the best traditions from the great shows of the past while helping pave the way to the future,” Mechanic said.

A former choreographer, Shankman has become a prolific director and producer, recently helming Disney’s “Bedtime Stories” and New Line’s musical “Hairspray.” He also produced New Line’s comedy “17 Again” and the Mouse’s upcoming “Step Up 3-D.”

Shankman can add the Oscars to a dance card that’s filling up fast. In addition to serving as one of the main judges on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” Shankman is prepping to helm a bigscreen adaptation of the musical “Rock of Ages” for New Line, with production to start next summer, and has another of “Bye Bye Birdie” in development. He also runs Disney-based Offspring Entertainment, together with Jennifer Gibgot, through which they produced “The Last Song,” “Going the Distance” and “Step Up 3-D,” all bowing next year.

Shankman said he looked forward to working with Mechanic to “celebrate the world’s collective love of movies and provide a fun escape from the difficult times we’re living in. There is no show like the Oscars, and I am thrilled to be a part of our industry’s most treasured tradition.”

Mechanic was chairman-CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment 1994-2000 before forming his own production shingle, Pandemonium, which produced this year’s animated hit “Coraline.”

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