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Craig Zadan, Neil Meron Won’t Return as Oscar Producers

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will not return as Oscar producers for next year, their reps have confirmed.

Meron also tweeted about the news on Thursday, saying he and Zadan “would like to thank The Academy.”

The duo have produced for the show for the past three years. On March 7, two weeks after the ceremonies, Zadan hinted at the exit, tweeting, “Hoping that whoever produces the Oscars next year will retain our innovations: TeamOscar program & reading all 24 nom on Oscar nom morning.”

Producing the show is time-consuming, and the duo have plenty on their plate. They had a three-year contract with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which wanted to nail down some continuity, Zadan told Deadline, which first reported the exit.

There has been a revolving door of producers in recent years, including Bill Condon-Laurence Mark, Brian Grazer and Adam Shankman.

The Academy board met Tuesday night, its first session since the Feb. 22 Oscarcast, but the Zadan-Meron exit was not decided there. The 85th Oscarcast, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, caused grumbling among Acad members, but last year’s ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, received thumbs up from members and from TV audiences.

The most recent ceremonies, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, saw a 16% ratings drop from last year.

Zadan and Meron, who have produced tuners such as December’s “Peter Pan Live” on NBC, included a lot of musical numbers in their Academy Awards shows, such as last year’s medley of “The Wizard of Oz” and this year’s “The Sound of Music” tribute by Lady Gaga.

Academy honchos and board members maintain a policy of secrecy about the board gatherings. However, sources said Tuesday’s agenda included the annual postmortem on the content of the Oscar show and other ongoing Academy business.

Questions about Oscar structure (number of best picture contenders, new categories) are traditionally addressed at the board’s summer meetings, after the awards rules committee gives a report.

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