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Neil Patrick Harris to Host the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

Neil Patrick Harris will host this year’s Oscars on Feb. 22, Variety has learned.

Harris has performed on the Academy Awards show, but this will be his first time as host. Harris hosted the Tony Awards last year and Emmy in 2013 and 2009, so with Oscar, he is apparently going for the EGOT sweep of hosts. (All that remains is Grammy.) He is appearing in Fox’s B.O. hit “Gone Girl.” He has won five Emmys and this year took home a Tony for the lead role in the musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will be handling their third consecutive Oscar producing stint (Variety, April 21), working in conjunction with Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and ABC honchos.

The 87th Oscar show will air live on ABC TV.

Oscar hosting is considered a primo gig, but it isn’t easy. The host needs to maintain the show’s energy, both for the audience inside the Dolby Theatre and for the millions of TV viewers. There is always a guessing game on hosts, but there are a limited number of individuals who have shown their talent in such a role. Ellen DeGeneres was successful at the March 2 rites, but apparently was reluctant even then to do it, and didn’t want to do it for the 2015 ceremony.

The March 2 ceremonies attracted the biggest Oscar viewership in 14 years, according to the Academy. It drew an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers, delivering a 13.7 rating among adults 18–49 (Live+7).

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Upcoming projects for Zadan and Meron include executive producing the television musical “Peter Pan Live!” a December telecast that’s a follow-up to their successful “The Sound of Music Live.” Their MTV comedy series, “Happyland,” recently premiered. For the bigscreen, Zadan and Meron are producing “Pippin” for the Weinstein Co., a musical based on the Beach Boys song catalog for Fox 2000 Pictures, and “Monster High” based on the Mattel franchise for Universal Pictures.

Harris took to social media to spread the news, crossing “Host the Oscars” off of his bucket list.

 

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