Dare to dream: Oscar producer's tweet suggests team may not return

Posted by · 10:11 am · March 9th, 2015

Is Oscar's 3-year-nightmare finally over?  On Saturday night, producer Craig Zadan tweeted an intriguing request that suggested both he and his producing partner Neil Meron would not return to produce a fourth Academy Awards telecast.

Zadan's tweet noted, “Hoping that whoever produces the #Oscars next year will retain our innovations: #TeamOscar program & reading all 24 noms on Oscar nom morning.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAt first, Zadan's reps told Deadline, “Nothing is decided. All it means is that Craig hopes the Oscars continue the innovations he and Neil started.”  On Sunday, however, Zadan re-tweeted every trade story that noted the duo were signaling their departure.  He also continued to tweet behind-the-scenes photos from the show.  Meron, for his part, hasn't tweeted anything on his personal account to suggest a return or departure.

The longtime producers got off to a very rocky start with Seth MacFarlane's controversial gig in 2013.  Last year, however, Ellen DeGeneres returned to host and the telecast had its highest ratings in 10 years.  2015's show was almost a complete turnabout as ratings dropped 16% and host Neil Patrick Harris received more criticism than he'd ever earned over four Tony Awards and two Emmy Awards shows combined (he also downplayed a return as host saying he wasn't sure his “family or his soul” could take it). 

Both Zadan and Meron have been criticized for creative choices that highlight works they are personally associated with including a “Chicago” anniversary performance in 2013 and selecting a little known song from their failed NBC drama “Smash” as part of this year's In Memoriam. 

While a decision likely won't be announced publicly, the Academy's Board of Governors are expected to review last month's show during their next scheduled meeting on March 24.

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