It would be the biggest comeback in Hollywood history — and a slap in the face for Will Smith.
Speculation is mounting that Chris Rock will be named the host of next year’s Academy Awards – after he was spectacularly crushed at that year’s ceremony by Best Actor winner Smith.
Craig Erich, ABC’s president of entertainment, told Deadline Tuesday that he’s ready to let Rock, 57, direct the next awards show. Erich also said that next year’s show, which will take place in March, will be “even better”.
The broadcaster told the publication he’s happy with the ratings for this year, but the decision to host Rock next time would likely boost viewership even more.
“Of course there was a lot of controversy [surrounding this year’s broadcast], which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program,” said Erich. “It was the biggest upswing of any awards show this season.”
Ratings for this year’s show increased by 58%, with an average of 16.6 million viewers tuning in. In comparison, a paltry 9.8 million Americans watched the 2021 show.
Crowds tuned in to the ceremony after Smith, 53, stormed the stage and slapped Rock in the face. The violence was caused by a joke by GI Jane Rock about Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from hair loss, alopecia.
However, Erwich insisted viewership was already increasing before the slap took place, explaining, “Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started year after year and we came back with great success.”
The ceremony was hosted by Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, with the ABC boss claiming the trio delivered for the network.
Erwich also said of the show’s producers, “If you look at what they were trying to do, which is to put entertainment back on the program, they had three great hosts, clips and incredible musical performances, I thought it would be a great way with the show.” can reclaim its place on the coat.”
Rock hasn’t responded to the new hosting rumors and has kept a relatively low profile on stage following Smith’s attack.
However, he was referring to the slap during a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London last Thursday night, and joked: “I’m fine in case anyone is wondering. I got most of my hearing back.”
He further quipped, “Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been slapped in the face.”
The prankster said he wouldn’t discuss the incident further – unless he received a hefty check from a streaming service.
“People expect me to talk about the cops – – t. I won’t talk about it now. Eventually I’ll get to it – on Netflix,” he quipped.
Smith also kept a low profile after the slap, amid rumors he still hasn’t apologized to Rock.
However, the Men In Black star issued a public apology after the attack and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following uproar over his actions.
The academy later announced that they would ban Smith from all of their fancy events for the next 10 years.