Chris Rock Could Host 2023 Oscars After the Slap Controversy

Craig Erwich, President of Entertainment at ABC, is open to the idea of the 'Grown Ups' star hosting next year's Academy Awards despite the Will Smith drama.

AceShowbiz - Chris Rock could anticipate getting the spotlight at upcoming Oscars. After making headlines with the slap drama involving Will Smith, the comedian could become the host of the 2023 Academy Awards.

Deadline reports that ABC, which aired this year's ceremony and will also broadcast the next edition, does not rule out the possibility of having Rock as the emcee of next year's Oscars. According to the site, Craig Erwich, President of Entertainment at ABC, is open to the idea.

Speaking to the news outlet, Erwich dubbed the 2022 Oscars "really successful" despite the slap controversy. "My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show," he said in an interview.

"Obviously there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program," he acknowledged. "Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way."

Remaining positive, Erwich added, "It was the biggest bounce back of any award show this season. If you look at what they were trying to do, which is really bring entertainment back to the program, they had three amazing hosts, clips, and incredible musical performances, I thought it was a great way for the show to reclaim its place on the mantle."

Indeed, this year's telecast, which was hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, was up nearly 60% in audience and 73% in the key demo from the hostless 2021 Oscars, amassing 16.6 million viewers. In comparison, a paltry 9.8 million Americans watched the 2021 show.

Erwich believes that the Disney-owned network will make the 95th annual Academy Awards "even better" than this year. "There's always things to learn and we'll endeavor to do even better next year," he promised.

At the 2022 Oscars which was held on March 27, Rock, who was onstage to present an award, was slapped by Smith across the face over his joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. He has never formally addressed the situation, but has several times referenced it at his comedy shows.

During his show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 12, he briefly touched on the subject as saying, "I'm OK, if anybody was wondering. I got most of my hearing back." He added of why he hasn't had an interview about the incident, "People expect me to talk about the bulls**t, I'm not going to talk about it right now, I'll get to it eventually, on Netflix."

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