The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” star has hosted major several awards shows in the past, notably the recent 2016 Emmy Awards, as well as the 2012 Emmys. Kimmel has also hosted the 2007 ESPYS and the American Music Awards on ABC five times. This will be his first time hosting the Oscars.
The show will be produced by Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd.
Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood had given Kimmel a big endorsement for the role back in September, after Kimmel won raves for his work hosting the Emmys. “We thought Jimmy elevated the Emmys,” said Sherwood during a Q&A at the Paley Center. “We thought Jimmy has earned it, and we’re very hopeful that Jimmy will get [the Oscar hosting gig].”
When De Luca and Todd were named hosts of the awards in November, they said Kimmel was on the long list of names they were considering. “Everybody’s on the table right now. Like we said, we’re still in our kitchen sink [stage]. Jimmy included. But we’ll get there soon,” they told Variety.
The choice of Kimmel — ABC’s marquee late-night host— reflects the growing influence of the Alphabet in the relationship with the Academy over the awards show. The new $75 million deal between the two entities, which was renewed in August through 2028, gives the Academy final say on producers, hosts and other production decisions. But the network has long wanted more say in how the show is produced. And now with their late-night host at the helm, their long-time wish has finally been granted.
Kimmel confirmed the news midday Monday.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) December 5, 2016
“Yes, I am hosting the Oscars,” he tweeted. “This is not a prank. And if it is, my revenge on @TheAcademy will be terrible & sweet.”
The Academy confirmed the news in a statement released Monday night. “Jimmy has the qualities of all the great hosts,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “He knows who he is, he knows the audience and he knows how to captain a ship with many moving parts. We’re thrilled he has agreed to host our show.”
“The Oscars are in great hands with Jimmy,” added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “He is razor sharp, funny, and unpredictable, and has proven himself a master of live event television, which is perfect for our audience around the world.”
Said producers De Luca and Todd, “Jimmy’s ability to connect with people is what makes him a singular choice for this job. His frank observations, relatable persona, wry humor and love of all kinds of film make him a natural fit for the Oscars stage.”
ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey said, “Jimmy is the perfect choice for us. He is deeply rooted in the Hollywood community and gifted at connecting with an audience as the consummate emcee. We expect the evening will be filled with great fun while honoring the best in the movie business.”
The 89th Academy Awards will air on ABC on February 26.