U.S. comedian and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will host the 2017 Oscars ceremony in February, organizers said on Monday, taking on one of the trickiest jobs in show business.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that Kimmel had been chosen after it was first reported by Hollywood trade publication Variety.
Kimmel, 49, who hosts ABC television’s “Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel,” will be a first-time host of the Oscars, the most prestigious night in the movie industry. He previously hosted the 2016 Emmy Awards for television and is a past host of the American Music Awards show.
The 2017 Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Feb. 26, and will be broadcast domestically on ABC.
“Yes, I am hosting the Oscars. This is not a prank. And if it is, my revenge on @TheAcademy will be terrible & sweet,” Kimmel tweeted on Monday.
The Academy was unusually late in announcing who will host the 2017 ceremony, a deal which is normally sewn up by November.
The job is a difficult balancing act with competing goals of entertaining hundreds of A-list stars at the venue, as well as a worldwide TV audience, and moving along presentations for some 20 awards.
Kimmel follows Chris Rock, a black comedian who hosted the 2016 Oscars amid a controversy over the all-white acting nominee lineup and the wider lack of diversity in the industry. The show drew the lowest U.S. television audience in eight years with just 34 million viewers.
Previous recent hosts have included TV star Neil Patrick Harris, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.