Chris Rock Could Host Oscars 2023 After Slap, ABC Exec Hints

Chris Rock.
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Planning ahead? ABC executives have a plan. Craig Erwich already has his eye on potential hosts for the 2023 show — with Chris RockAmong them.

Erwich, the network’s president of entertainment, told DeadlineThe team will feature the comedian, 57 years old, on Tuesday, May 17 after his altercation with Will Smith at this year’s ceremony. Smith, 53, stormed onto the stage during March’s broadcast and slapped Rock in his face in retaliation to a joke he made. Jada pinkett Smith‘s hair.

“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show,” Erwich continued. “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. Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way.”

The exec teased that the 95th annual awards show, which is currently slated to take place in Los Angeles in March 2023, will be “even better” than viewers have seen before. “There’s always things to learn,” Erwich added.

Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer Regina Hall cohosted the ceremony earlier this year, but their playful bits and monologues were hardly the focus after Smith’s incident. The King Richard actor tearfully accepted the best actor trophy just moments after smacking Rock, later taking to Instagram to issue a formal apology for his “destructive” behavior. Smith quit the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences after the controversy continued to be in the news. He was then banned from attending any Oscars events for the next ten years.

“It’s been a nightmare for everyone,” a source close to the Bel-Air’s Fresh PrinceThe 50-year-old alum and his wife exclusively tell their stories Us Weekly of the slap’s aftermath. “Will knows the road to redemption is going to be a long and painful one, and there’s a part of him that’s grown to accept he’ll never be able to fully repair the damage that was caused.”

The insider added, “They know the best course of action is to stay tight-lipped. The only healer is time.”

Rock, for his part, has slowly been opening up about the incident during his stand-up sets, joking during a show in California last month that he won’t talk about what went down “until I get paid.” The MadagascarWhile performing in London, the actor continued to laugh at the drama on Thursday, May 12.

“I’m OK, if anybody was wondering. Got most of my hearing back,” he teased. “Don’t expect me to talk about the bulls–t. I’ll talk about it at some point — on Netflix. Your tickets were expensive, but not that expensive.”

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