'Jimmy is the perfect choice for us. He is deeply rooted in the Hollywood community and gifted at connecting with an audience as the consummate emcee,' said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. Photograph:( AFP )
The host of a late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel announced on Monday that he would be hosting the 2017 Academy Awards in February ending months of speculation.
This is the first time for ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" host, who hosted this year's Emmys television awards.
"Yes, I am hosting the Oscars. This is not a prank. And if it is, my revenge on @TheAcademy will be terrible & sweet," the 49-year-old New Yorker joked on Twitter.
Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, producers of the 89th Oscars ceremony, confirmed the comedian's selection who will host live award function live on February 26.
"Jimmy's ability to connect with people is what makes him a singular choice for this job," they said in a joint statement.
"His frank observations, relatable persona, wry humor and love of all kinds of film make him a natural fit for the Oscars stage."
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she was thrilled to have a host who "knows who he is, he knows the audience" while CEO Dawn Hudson described Kimmel as "razor sharp, funny and unpredictable."
In August, ABC struck a new deal to give executives more creative input.
The television network pays the Academy a reported $75 million a year to broadcast the Oscars.
"Jimmy is the perfect choice for us. He is deeply rooted in the Hollywood community and gifted at connecting with an audience as the consummate emcee," said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, AFP reported.
The appointment of Kimmel comes uncharacteristically late this year as the host is usually booked months in advance of the Oscars.
The 2016 ceremony was hosted by Chris Rock in the backdrop of a social media outrage against the lack of racial diversity among the nominees, under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. The telecast suffered an eight-year low in ratings, averaging 34.5 million viewers.
(WION with inputs from AFP)