*The 89th Academy Awards is set to air on ABC on Feb. 26, but the telecast has yet to lock down producers or a host for the telecast.
Last year’s producers, Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, were reportedly among those who met with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pair met with them “several months ago,” but “ but there have been no follow-up conversations since, according to sources close to the situation.”
Both Hill and Hudlin have since turned their attention to other projects.
Via THR’s Scott Feinberg:
The fact that the Academy has not yet named either a producer or a host for the 89th Oscars by Nov. 1 is believed to be unprecedented. (Typically, the Academy chooses a producer or producing team, who then in turn select the host.) “It’s insane,” says someone who has been a part of the selection process in the past. “That means they’ve been turned down by dozens of people. The only reason I can think of for that is that no one wants the grief of #OscarSoWhite, although that didn’t fall on the producers of the last show anyway.”
The partnership of Hill, a TV sportcasting vet, and Hudlin, an Oscar-nominated producer, was an arranged marriage of sorts championed by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The resulting telecast, which came in the midst of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, attracted a slight increase in viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, but had the lowest total viewership in eight years. ABC, which was skeptical about the selection of Hill and Hudlin to begin with, was less than pleased with those results.
Hudlin became only the fourth black producer ever to receive a best picture Oscar nomination when Django Unchained was nominated in 2013. In March, Boone Isaacs appointed him to the Academy’s board of governors. He also is a member of the DGA, WGA and SAG — a rare hat-trick — who has directed major films (1992’s Boomerang grossed $131 million worldwide) and hit TV shows (The Office and Modern Family) and thrived as a top-level exec (he was the first president of entertainment for BET Networks).
As for award shows, Hudlin has served as executive producer of the NAACP Image Awards since 2012, and in November 2014 he produced the Academy’s non-televised Governors Awards, an opportunity that arose after he produced The Academy Celebrates The Black Movie Soundtrack, a star-studded, one-night-only musical tribute at the Hollywood Bowl, earlier in the year.
Hill made his name by launching Britain’s Sky Television and then its offshoot subscription channel Sky Sports, which led the self-professed non-sports fan to the job of chairman and CEO of the Fox Sports Media Group. There, he ushered in technological innovations like the NFL first down graphic line, which markedly enhanced the viewing experience. “Loud graphics and sizzle and pop were hallmarks of Hill,” the Los Angeles Times wrote. He won an outstanding live sports special Emmy as executive producer of the 2011 World Series. He later became senior exec vp of 21st Century Fox (overseeing, among other things, digital initiatives) and also as an exec producer on the last two seasons of American Idol.