Outgoing Academy president Tom Sherak had conversations with producer Lorne Michaels and talk-show host Jimmy Fallon about producing and hosting next February’s Academy Awards, but discontinued those conversations when a deal could not be made prior to Tuesday night’s Academy presidential election, according to AMPAS insiders with knowledge of the negotiations.
Michaels and Fallon could still be in the running for the Oscar gigs, but the point man on those discussions will now be new Academy president Hawk Koch, who was chosen to succeed Sherak.
Koch has a past relationship with Michaels: He served as executive producer on the two “Wayne’s World” movies, which Michaels produced and which were based on a sketch that originated on Michaels’ “Saturday Night Live.”
A spokesperson for the Academy said that talks with Michaels and Fallon were not taking place, and declined to comment further.
The discussions between Sherak and potential producers began at the request of the Board of Governors a couple of months ago, according to an executive who asked not to be identified. Although choosing an Oscar show producer typically becomes the top priority after the AMPAS presidential election in July or August, the board passed a new rule several years ago that allowed presidents to begin recruiting producers prior to the election.
The rule change was designed to give presidents and producers a head start in light of the heavy workload required for an Oscar show. In 2010, for example, producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer were hired and announced more than a month before the election. (At that point it was a certainty that Sherak would be re-elected.)
This year, when Sherak could not complete the deal with Michaels prior to the election, a source close to the outgoing president said he called off the discussions so as not to undercut his successor.
Koch told TheWrap on Wednesday morning that his first order of business would be to select an Oscar producer. He added that he had an idea of some producers he’d approach, but had not yet had conversations with anyone.
The Oscar show is broadcast on ABC, which according to the Los Angeles Times is uncomfortable with the idea of the Academy using an NBC late-night host for the show.
ABC does not have veto power over Oscar show hosts, who in the past have occasionally come from other networks: Alec Baldwin from NBC, David Letterman from CBS, Jon Stewart from Comedy Central. But Fallon, who hosted the 2010 Emmy Awards, is a direct competitor to ABC’s own late-night program, Jimmy Kimmel Live!