As of the writing of this article, the Oscars are still without a Host. But I think Hollywood has been given a chance to turn lemons into lemonade. They have an opportunity to choose a host for the Oscars that could finally connect them with the rest of the country.
They should take a cue from the Hallmark Channel. Don’t’ Laugh – I’m serious. Keep reading and hear me out.
Fact: The Oscars are losing people every year, constantly told they are out of touch and stuffy. The Oscars averaged 26 million viewers in 2018, down 19% from the year prior year. This past year, people complained of too many political and crude jokes, and the Oscar for film of the year went to The Shape of Water, an artistic yet very strange science fiction film that few people saw. Host Jimmy Kimmel made fun of Vice President Pence’s faith, which regardless of your faith, most people found just plain out of place.
Meanwhile, in an era when cable is losing viewers, the Hallmark Channel is gaining viewers and dominating every night.
Why? Its family-friendly content connects with middle America and is something the whole family can watch. Why is this important? The Oscars and Hollywood have long been seen as “out of touch” with the rest of the country, have a golden opportunity to connect with and embrace some of those middle America viewers. The only time they came close to this was 2014. The show had 43 million people tuning in, that’s the largest audience almost 20 years, and the host that year was Ellen Degeneres. She is a household name, She has mainly tame and family-friendly humor, and she always appears to genuinely enjoy what she is doing. She connects with people, and her daytime talk show is feel-good TV. But – I would argue, they can do even better this year. Here is how:
These are my top 5 picks for Oscars hosts, based on what was mentioned above.
- Reese Witherspoon. This beautiful talented blonde is admired by her peers but still makes the rest of the country feel like we could be her friend. She gives off a wholesome, family-friendly vibe and just wrapped up an insanely popular book tour with her new book “Whiskey in a teacup”. She might bring in the Southern and Midwest viewership this Oscars desperately need and would be a ray of Sunshine. She has a book club, clothing line, and regular girl appeal that millions of women adore. (Plus, how fun to see her many costume changes?!) In a year of ME TOO and Girl Power, a female host seems more than appropriate.
- Kelly Ripa. Like Ellen, Kelly is seen every day on television screens in households everywhere. She is a happily married Mother of three, hysterically funny (check out her skits on Live with Kelly and Ryan) but also keeps her humor relatively tame. She has the acting resume to be well – received by her peers. She may not have starred in major motion pictures, but neither did Jimmy Kimmel or Ellen when they hosted. Kelly could promote the show on her own morning gab-fest, as both belong to ABC. Kelly would bring a girl-next-door relatable feel the Oscars need and America loves.
- Tim Allen. This man should have hosted already. He also represents middle America with his hugely successful shows like “Home Improvement” and “Last Man Standing” and who could forget the cult classic “The Santa Clause.” He would be a friendly face and welcome presence on Hollywood’s biggest night. Plus, with his conservative-leaning views, it would prove Hollywood welcomes all and He might bring in some of his millions of viewers and fans.
- Terry Crews. Yes, Terry Crews. And this is why – he is hosting Americas Got Talent, so he’s got the hosting chops. He is known for movies like the Expendable Series and tv shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but he also played in the NFL for the Rams, Charger, and Redskins. Perhaps he could draw in some of the massive NFL audience. He models that all-american appeal that Oscars desperately need. He and his wife are very open about their devout Christian Faith. They have five kids. AND he recently shared his own experience of sexual harassment by a former agent in the industry. Powerful choice in this moment.
- Chris Pratt. My final choice, and really my favorite! He is a mega-star – known for films like Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy. He is box-office gold. But Chris is something rare in Hollywood – outspoken about his Faith, as was on display at the recent MTV Awards when accepting the Generation Award, and also throughout his social media. Chris is refreshing, humble, and funny to boot – as demonstrated in his break-out role on the tv show “Parks and Recreation”. Once again, Chris will tap into that important base of America that the Oscars have so far failed to deliver to. I would love to see Chris’s opening monologue and see his witty comments woven into the show.
Further proof? Faith Films continue to bring in substantial money and eyeballs at the Box Office – films like I can only imagine, God’s Not Dead ($80 million gross worldwide) and family-friendly fare such as Incredibles 2, which brought in 1.2 billion worldwide and The Black Panther, which took in 1.34 billion. All these films were PG13 or tamer and seen by that broad, All American base the Oscars has ignored for too long.
So my message to the suits in charge of selecting the Oscar host, why not give it a shot and try one of these folks? You literally have nothing to lose!
– Megan Alexander is a national correspondent for Inside Edition, an Actress, Producer, Host of the sports podcast “Women Talk Sport” on iTunes, Wife, Mother, and Author of the book “Faith in the Spotlight”