January 8, 2020 / 7:40 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 2-Oscars to go host-less for second year, ABC says

(Adds background on awards show hosts)

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The 2020 Oscars ceremony in February will again have no host, the head of ABC Television Entertainment said on Wednesday.

"Let me confirm it now. Together with the Academy (of Motion Pictures), we have decided there will be no traditional host again this year," Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, told television reporters.

The 2019 Oscars was the first in 30 years to have no host and saw the audience on broadcaster ABC rise to 29.6 million Americans, breaking a four-year trend of falling viewership for the live ceremony.

Burke said the decision not to have a host for the Feb. 9 event, the most prestigious awards in the movie business, was prompted by good reviews last year, when rock band Queen opened the show with a live performance to celebrate the box office success of the musical "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Burke said organizers planned on "repeating what worked for us last year - huge entertainment value, big musical numbers, big comedy."

"A lot of incredible elements have already come together and convinced us that we are going to have an incredibly entertaining show again," she added, without giving details.

Nominations for the 2020 Oscars will be announced on Monday.

Finding a host for big awards show has become increasingly difficult in recent years. Comedian Kevin Hart pulled out of the 2019 Oscars job after being slammed on social media for homophobic comments he had made in the past. He apologized.

Other comedians, including Ricky Gervais at Sunday's Golden Globes, have met with criticism for being either too harsh, too political, or too soft in their jokes. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler)

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