Comedian Jon Stewart is expected to return as host of the Oscars in February—even though his first appearance in 2006 resulted in the ceremony’s lowest ratings in years—The New York Times reported today. Many TV critics said the Daily Show host did a fine job when he presided over the Oscars the first time, but more viewers tuned in last year when Ellen DeGeneres took center stage.
“Has the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences lost its collective mind?” said Nikki Finke on her blog Deadline Hollywood Daily. Stewart attracted 38.9 million viewers when he hosted in 2006, but the following year Ellen DeGeneres brought in 39.9 million. Let’s not even talk about 1998, when Billy Crystal got 55 million people to watch. And Stewart doesn’t have a huge following outside of the U.S. When he was picked last time, “Australian Broadcasting Corp. said they’d never heard of Jon Stewart,” so he’s not exactly a “great host choice for international audiences.”
Actually, Stewart’s problem last time was that he was too popular, said Jeremy Smith on Chud.com. “He was at the height of his popularity with The Daily Show” and “if there’s one thing Hollywood hates, it’s being upstaged on its night by a beloved personality.” But he’s “cooled off” since then, so he should have a much easier time. “I’m actually looking forward to it.”
And why wouldn’t you? said Waleg.com. Stewart is the perfect MC for the Oscars. When he hosted in 2006, he “did a great job and was his usual funny, witty and charming self!” Why wouldn’t he be great again? “We expect the show to be as entertaining as last time.”