"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane to host Oscars

Mon Oct 1, 2012 6:24pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Outspoken comedian Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy", will host the Oscars ceremony in February in a choice seen aimed at attracting younger viewers to the movie industry's biggest night.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which produces the Oscars, announced the selection on Monday of first-time host MacFarlane, known for his no-holds-barred humor and cultural satire on "Family Guy".

Oscars telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement they picked MacFarlane, 38, because "his performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh," calling him the "consummate host".

"My thoughts upon hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors; and two, I hope they don't find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen Roast," Macfarlane said in a statement, alluding to a televised sendup of Sheen on the Comedy Central channel.

The Academy Awards, which will next take place on February 24, 2013, are the highest honors in the movie business and the hosting job is a coveted spot, held in the past by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and Steve Martin.

The Academy has struggled in recent years to appeal to a younger audience. Rookie hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco were drafted in for the 2011 ceremony but the show became one of the least-watched Academy Awards in the past decade, drawing 37.6 million Americans, and critics slammed the young hosts.

More than 39 million Americans tuned in to watch Oscars veteran Billy Crystal take the helm this year, but some critics called the show old-fashioned.

Comedian MacFarlane rose to fame and gained a cult following as the creator of Fox's edgy comedy animated series "Family Guy," which follows the outrageous antics of Peter Griffin and his dysfunctional family.   Continued...

Seth MacFarlane, the creator of "Family Guy", arrives at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California in this September 20, 2009 file photo. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced October 1, 2012 that MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards, to be presented on February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/Files