It looks as if Jimmy Fallon won't be presiding at the Dolby Theatre after all.
On Wednesday, the late-night host went on "Today" in London to say he will not be hosting the Academy Awards in 2013, essentially confirming a Los Angeles Times report late Tuesday that talks between him and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have stalled.
"No, I'm not going to do the Oscars," Fallon told "Today" co-host Matt Lauer, who seemed to be surprised by the response. "It's an honor to be asked by the academy, but it's not my year."
Fallon, who had largely been offering up quips earlier in the interview, got serious as he made the comments. Interestingly, Lauer had actually asked whether he was being "considered" for the gig, which Fallon of course did not deny.
Last week, the L.A. Times reported that former academy president Tom Sherak had been in talks with Fallon, who previously hosted the Emmys, to host the Oscars; Sherak has also talked to "Saturday Night Live" executive producer Lorne Michaels about producing the February telecast, the story said. (Sherak left his post last week and has been replaced by veteran Hollywood producer Hawk Koch.)
But ABC, which broadcasts the movie kudos, was said to object to giving a platform to Fallon, who directly competes with the network's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" via his NBC show "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." ABC does not hold official veto power over the academy's selection but is believed to have some sway with the group.
According to the Times report, talks had stalled primarily on the objection of Disney chief Robert Iger. Though Iger does not hold veto power over the academy's selection of an Oscar host, he does carry a lot of clout inside the organization. In December, the academy named him chairman of its $250 million capital campaign to raise money for a new museum in a former May Co. building on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus.
Iger was not opposed to Michaels producing the show.
The Oscars have hired hosts from other networks before. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnny Carson did the honors for ABC - despite the fact that he was the king of late night with NBC's "Tonight Show." Jon Stewart, of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," hosted in 2006 and 2008. And Alec Baldwin shared the podium with Steve Martin in 2010, even though Baldwin is a star of NBC's "30 Rock."
The academy did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In terms of mass audience, though, the choice of host may not even matter. Years of data reveal that the biggest determinant of Oscar ratings is the popularity of the movies nominated, not the emcee.
In 1998, the Billy Crystal-hosted year that "Titanic" won, more than 57 million total viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen. But in 2008, the year the modestly grossing "No Country for Old Men" took home best picture, 31.8 million watched - a record low. Stewart was the host.
Meredith Blake of the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.