Every time the Oscars pick a slightly out-of-the-box choice as host — say, someone younger than Billy Crystal — the hand-wringing begins.

FamilyguySo a brief reminder that hosting the Oscars is one of those gigs that's more about marketing than actual entertainment or fundamentally changing the show.

As the world knows by now, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane will host next year's ceremony, which is certainly unexpected. Not only does he have a relatively low profile despite the success of his movie "Ted," but his other hosting stints include a decidedly more blue performance emceeing the Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump. Odds are he'll tell fewer dick jokes this time around.

It's obvious why the academy reached out to MacFarlane, whose work attracts a younger, predominantly male audience that, for the most part, traditionally couldn't care less about the Oscars, unless they nominate the latest "Saw" sequel. Tapping him is an overt come-on to reach more folks within that elusive demo, while assuming the women and older crowd who tune in will regardless for the fashion and, incidentally, the movies.

In terms of the show itself, though, it's worth noting the host is never really a huge part of the telecast. Both Chris Rock and Jon Stewart — hired for similar reasons — couldn't break out of the Oscars' inherent stodginess, and were on screen relatively short amounts of time. Even the indignation registered at the Anne Hathaway-James Franco pairing — another youth-oriented ploy — largely ignored this point.

So — and here's a shocker — in their eagerness to get attention and generate buzz, the academy and ABC are using Seth MacFarlane, who is using them (with presumably somewhat less to gain, given his animation empire) right back.

Then again, how appropriate: The dude who created "Family Guy," in showbiz terms, is this year's version of a talking dog.

All right. Enough perspective. Unleash the hounds!

 

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