ABC is reportedly open to having Chris Rock host the 2023 Oscars. That big statement came from Craig Erwich, President of Entertainment at ABC, the Disney-owned network that airs the Oscars. While reflecting on this year's Oscars – and the now infamous Will Smith slap of Chris Rock – Erwich teased how The 95th Annual Academy Awards (set for March 12, 2023) will be an improvement on this year's achievements – which Erwich counts as a "really successful year for the show."
In his full statement to Deadline, Craig Erwich said the following:
"My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show. Obviously there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program," Erwich said. "Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way."
The 2022 Oscars did do well in terms of performance, boasting a nearly 60% boost in audience and over 70% in the key demographic of 18-49. Overall, the show brought in over 16M viewers.
"It was the biggest bounceback of any award show this season," Erwich continued. "If you look at what they were trying to do, which is really bring entertainment back to the program, they had three amazing hosts, clips, and incredible musical performances, I thought it was a great way for the show to reclaim its place on the mantle. There's always things to learn and we'll endeavor to do even better next year."
This is just another boon for Chris Rock, who has received an outpouring of support – both personal and professional – since the incident with Will Smith. Rock's comedy shows have sold out, and offers have started to pour in. For his part, Rock hasn't spoken about the slap, after indicating he'd be saving that content for a later standup special. Rock has at least started to make brief jokes about it, like at a recent event in London:
"I'm okay, if anybody was wondering," Rock said to the crowd (via PEOPLE). "Got most of my hearing back. Don't expect me to talk about the bullsh-t. I'll talk about it at some point … on Netflix. Your tickets were expensive, but not that expensive."
Chris Rock previously hosted the Oscars in 2005 and 2016. The latter occasion sparked much controversy as Rock took the hosting gig during the "#OscarsSoWhite" boycott by many black members of Hollywood. That year also allegedly sparked the first big tension between Rock and The Smiths, as a joke the comedian made about them that year didn't go over well, either.
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