Jimmy Kimmel to host Oscars: Why the late-night host was selected

Kimmel has been selected to host the Oscars 2017 telecast, which will air on Feb. 26. Kimmel hosts ABC's late-night program 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

Mike Blake/Reuters/File
Jimmy Kimmel opens the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 2016.

Viewers may be used to seeing late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on their TVs after the Oscars air for Mr. Kimmel’s post-Oscars episode, but next year, Kimmel will be emceeing the Academy Awards ceremony.

Kimmel is the host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” late-night show. He follows such recent picks as Chris Rock, Neil Patrick Harris, and Ellen DeGeneres. The 2017 Oscars ceremony will be held on Feb. 26 and nominations will be announced on Jan. 24.

The Oscars will air again on ABC next year, which many industry watchers point to as the self-evident reason for Kimmel's selection. 

Scott Feinberg of the Hollywood Reporter called Kimmel’s selection “this most obvious of picks” and expressed surprise that it hadn’t happened earlier. “Why did it take so long to give a shot to a middle-aged straight white guy whose wry humor plays well in red and blue states alike, just like the most successful Oscar host of all-time, Johnny Carson?” he wrote.

Mr. Feinberg notes that ABC now has more power over choosing a host after recent negotiations, so it’s no surprise that the network would want to put the spotlight on its long-running late-night host. 

In addition, Kimmel’s hosting of this year’s Emmy Awards was largely well-received. Variety writer Maureen Ryan praised his work, writing that “a good deal of the credit for the night’s overall success should go to Kimmel, whose pointed and funny monologue set the tone for the night … most of his jokes [were] on point and on target.” 

However, the ratings for the Emmys were at an all-time low this year. We’ll have to wait and see if Kimmel can turn around the ratings for the 2017 Oscars. The 2016 Academy Awards show was the lowest-rated in eight years.

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