How I Met Your Oscar? Neil Patrick Harris to host Academy Awards
By Piya Sinha-Roy and Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Neil Patrick Harris, popular with younger TV viewers as the star of the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," has been tapped to host next year's Academy Awards ceremony, the organizers of Hollywood's biggest night said on Wednesday.
Harris, 41, best known as Barney Stinson on the long-running CBS series, has also hosted TV's Emmy Awards. He has won three Emmys for hosting theater's Tony Awards.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is eager to draw a greater number of younger viewers to the TV broadcast of the 87th Oscars. The ceremony will be shown live to more than 200 countries from Los Angeles on Feb. 22 on the ABC television network, owned by Walt Disney Co.
Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres emceed the ceremony this year, and drew the highest Oscars telecast audience in 14 years with 43.7 million tuning in. DeGeneres was also successful drawing a strong rating among the 18-49 demographic coveted most by advertisers.
DeGeneres, who is openly gay like Harris, poked fun at the powerful people in the room, her own sexuality, handed out pizza and took a star-studded selfie that set Twitter's record for most retweets and briefly crashed the microblogging service.
Harris, who won a best actor Tony Award this year in Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," most recently co-starred in dark thriller and early Oscar contender "Gone Girl."
"I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show," Harris said in a statement. "To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true."
Harris helped break the announcement on Twitter with a video post showing him cheekily running down a "bucket list" of accomplishments before circling "Host the Oscars." Continued...