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Awards

Motion Picture Academy renews TV rights deal, keeping Oscars on Disney’s ABC through 2028

 Oscars
Oscars aglow following the ceremonies at the 88th Academy Awards.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The ABC television network is extending its glittery Oscar run through 2028.

The Walt Disney Co. broadcast network and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Wednesday that they had renewed their domestic TV rights deal for an additional eight years, keeping the Oscar telecast firmly on ABC for another decade. The previous pact was set to expire in 2020. 

ABC has been the exclusive home of the Oscars since 1976.  The new arrangement carries symbolic weight as the 2028 telecast will mark the 100th anniversary of the event.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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However, the Beverly Hills-based academy was eager to lock in a new deal as its operating budget heavily depends on the TV rights income. In addition, the academy is in the midst of an ambitious capital program to construct an academy museum near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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The academy also has been trying to move forward after two years of the #OscarsSoWhite protest over the lack of minorities among Academy Award nominees in top categories. In June, the board invited a diverse group of 683 people to join the academy, with the goal of rectifying past slights that has tarnished the Oscar brand.

“In 2028, we’ll mark the Oscars’ 100th anniversary, and ABC is the perfect partner to help us celebrate the magic of movies with our fans,” academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement.

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“On behalf of the academy, I thank Jim Gianopulos, our academy treasurer and chair of the board’s finance committee, and Disney/ABC’s Ben Sherwood, for leading these efforts,” said Boone Isaacs, who was reelected as the group’s president earlier this month.

Advertisers paid nearly $2 million, a record, for a 30-second spot on this year’s Academy Awards show, despite the furor over the all-white field of acting nominees. The network raked in about $120 million in ad revenue from the broadcast, its biggest haul ever.

Much of that money went to cover the TV license fee to the academy. Despite a ratings dip during the last two years, the Oscars remain one of the most popular TV events of the year, particularly among women.

The telecast in February, hosted by Chris Rock, drew nearly 35 million viewers. The TV audience topped 42 million in 2014 when Ellen DeGeneres emceed the event.  However, most awards shows this year saw a ratings decline. 

But the big-ticket nature of the Oscars broadcast, littered with Hollywood celebrities,  ups the ante with advertisers. The show  attracts top advertisers because the TV audience has a high concentration of women and high-income viewers.

“We look forward to teaming with the academy to bring Oscar Sunday to even greater creative heights, as we spotlight motion picture magic and honor the achievements of the most talented members of the film industry,” Sherwood said in the statement.

Another division of Walt Disney Co. has international broadcast rights to the Academy Awards. Those rights were not included in the pact announced Wednesday.

meg.james@latimes.com

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@MegJamesLAT

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