FILE PHOTO: Cast member Kevin Hart poses at the premiere for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Oscars ceremony will not have an official host this year, the president of ABC Entertainment, which broadcasts the ceremony, said on Tuesday.
ABC’s Karey Burke told television reporters that the Feb 24. Ceremony would feature celebrities who present the awards, along with plans for “a pretty exciting opening” to the telecast.
Comedian Kevin Hart in December stepped down from hosting the Oscars, the film industry’s most prestigious awards, after past homophobic tweets resurfaced.
The Oscars ceremony has gone without a host only once before in its 91-year history, in 1989.
Burke said the decision to forego a host this year was taken after what she called “the messiness” over the Hart withdrawal.
“After that, it was pretty clear that we were going to stay the course and just have presenters host the Oscars. We all got on board with that idea pretty quickly,” Burke told reporters at the Television Critics Association meeting in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena.
She said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, had promised ABC last year to keep the telecast to three hours – about 30 minutes shorter than in recent years.
“So the producers, I think, decided wisely to not have a host and to go back to having the presenters and the movies being the stars,” Burke said.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Leslie Adler