UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences confirmed on Wednesday that Chris Rock will host the 88th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 28, 2016.
EARLER: Comedian Chris Rock is in talks to host the 88th Academy Awards, EW has confirmed. No deal has been struck.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences declined to comment on the news.
Should Rock solidify his deal, it will mark the comedian’s second stint on the Oscar stage, having hosted the telecast back in 2005, when Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture.
Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th annual Academy Awards back in February, and the broadcast was the lowest rated in six years.
“You don’t take a television show, something as iconic as the Oscars, and pull it apart and try to put it back together again. Good television shows are always evolutionary and not revolutionary,” Oscars co-producer David Hill told EW in an interview last month. “An evolutionary show is where there are a couple of tweaks and changes.”
According to Hill, there was at least some initial discussion of having two hosts for the 2016 ceremony. “There will be multiple hosts for sure – there will be two,” Hill told EW. Co-producer Reginald Hudlin, however, was more measured about the multiple hosts idea.
“We have absolutely talked about duos. We’ve talked about a lot of different configurations,” he said. “I love that David is a flamethrower, and I’m always way more secretive and tight-lipped. But we’re still very much in the brainstorming phase.”
Hudlin and Hill replaced Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as Oscar producers in September. Rock previously worked with Hudlin on Everybody Loves Chris, the comic’s television show that aired from 2005-2009. Hudlin directed the Everybody Loves Chris pilot.
The 88th annual Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 28, 2016.
The website RobotButt first reported the news here.