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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

Academy Awards to go host-free once again

From left: Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler opened the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2019.
From left: Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler opened the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2019.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Oscars are coming to ABC on Feb. 9, and the ceremony will be hostless. Like last year, when Kevin Hart withdrew from the job over old tweets, the telecast will rely instead on a series of star presenters and “moments.” Last year, as you may recall, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler came out at the top of the night for a quick bit of roasting.

Why, when there are probably more than a few comics willing and able to carry the show, is the Academy going leaderless once again? Last year’s ceremony, the first host-free Oscars since 1989, was 30 minutes shorter than the 2018 telecast and had 12 percent more viewers (and 13 percent more in the 18-49 demo). That 2018 show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, hit an all-time low in total viewers. “Together with the Academy,” ABC’s entertainment president Karey Burke said to an audience of reporters at TV Press Tour, “we have decided there will be no traditional host, repeating for us what worked last year. [It will have] huge entertainment values, big musical numbers, comedy, and star power.”

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Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.