Last year, the Oscars went hostless for the first time since 1989. The reaction to the ceremony seemed to be fine. The show was able to start with a lot of energy thanks to some opening jokes from Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph. Additionally, without a host, the ceremony was streamlined and was 30 minutes shorter than the 2018 telecast (and hey, they didn’t need to cut any categories to do it! Imagine that!). Now it looks like the Academy and ABC may be looking to repeat that success.
According to Deadline, “The Academy is believed to be following a similar blueprint this year, going after top entertainers to give the show the burst of energy a good opening monologue by a host provides. Depending how that search goes, current plans for the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards could change, insiders stress.”
However, there is some risk in following this blueprint. Last year’s Oscars could have received a bump from the controversy of hiring Kevin Hart and his departure, so people tuned in out of curiosity. This year’s Emmys tried going hostless, and the ratings were terrible, so it’s not like no host automatically means high ratings.
The truth of the matter is that ratings are in decline across the board as people cut the cord and opt for streaming. There just aren’t enough live events to warrant the cost of cable, and even before streaming took over, it’s not like the Oscars was the most popular show as people discussed if the movies were popular enough to woo interest. After all, if you haven’t seen the movies nominated for awards, you’re probably not going to be invested in the outcome. While the 2020 Oscars may not have to worry about popular movies as hits like Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are likely to be in contention, there’s still likely to be some handwringing about getting people to tune in.
The 2020 Oscars are set to air on February 9th on ABC.