Ellen DeGeneres to host Oscars; she’s no Seth MacFarlane

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sits in her Warner Bros. studio dressing room in Burbank. DeGeneres' appeal is enormous in her 10th year as a syndicated talk host.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Second time’s a charm for Ellen DeGeneres, who announced she’s returning to host the 2014 Oscars via her Twitter page Friday morning.

“It’s official: I’m hosting the #Oscars!” DeGeneres wrote. “I’d like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra.”

The Emmy-winning syndicated talk show host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” hosted the 79th annual ceremony in 2007.

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Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron trumpeted their longstanding ties to the popular comedian in a statement Friday.

“We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars,” Meron and Zadan said. “As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. There are few stars today who have Ellen’s gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect the audience at the Dolby Theater, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are.”

The announcement ended months of speculation about who would emcee the broadcast for outstanding film achievements, which is seen in over 200 countries and is set to take place March 2.

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Last year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, creator of TV’s animated “Family Guy” series and the blockbuster 2012 comedy “Ted,” divided audiences with his edgy wit and biting sarcasm through such musical skits such as his much-maligned ode to female movie nudity “We Saw Your Boobs.”

While MacFarlane garnered in bigger ratings over the previous year, with 40.3 million people tuning in to the broadcast (a 2% uptick), DeGeneres’ selection for 2014 marks a return to a kinder, gentler Oscars hosting style, more in line with the broad-based appeal of its 2011 host Billy Crystal.

On Friday, Meron tweeted: “welcome back to the oscar stage, ellen...we can’t wait to start working with you!”


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Twitter: @__chrislee