Meron, Zadan Return Produce Oscars
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Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed on to produce the Academy Awards for a second consecutive year in 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced.

The pair guided this year’s Oscars to an average viewership of 40.3 million — the kudocast’s highest total in the past three years — with an 11% gain in the 18-49 demo compared with 2012.

“Craig and Neil have the overwhelming support of the Academy’s Governors to produce the Oscars again in 2014,” said Academy prexy Hawk Koch in a statement. “In order to establish continuity with this year’s enormously successful show, we felt it was important to give these consummate professionals the green light now to begin creating another great evening.”

Controversy surrounding the Oscars broadcast is nothing new, and this year’s edition did not escape it. Host Seth MacFarlane drew accusations of insensitivity and misogyny, while others complained that the show tilted too heavily toward musical numbers of uncertain relevance or value. It was also argued that the ratings bump reflected a group of nominees that were more box-office friendly than in past years.

SEE ALSO: In Search of Next Year’s Oscar Host

But others were enamored with what was considered to be Meron and Zadan’s fresh approach to the awards, from the set pieces to the use of young filmmakers as statuette presenters, the result of the Oscar Experience College Search. And the ratings boost certainly didn’t hurt.

“Craig and Neil have great relationships, a sense of showmanship and a passion for our Academy,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “And they’re a pleasure to work with.  All perfect qualities for our show.”

Said Meron and Zadan: “We are very honored to have been asked to return as Oscar producers for a second year. We look forward to creating a distinctive and entertaining show.”

Koch, whose tenure as president will end in July because of Academy governor term limits, succeeded in hiring the producers for two Oscars in eight months. Last year, Zadan and Meron were signed to do the job in August.

MacFarlane made clear the day after the Oscars that he would not  return as host for the 2014 ceremony, which will take place March 2 to get out of the way of the quadrennial Winter Olympics. Last year, the Academy announced its selection for Oscar host in October.

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