Sid Ganis during a 2009 news conference in Beverly Hills. (Damian Dovarganes/ Associated…)
Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis was approached to produce next year's Oscars telecast with "Saturday Night Live" veteran Lorne Michaels, according to two sources with knowledge of the academy's negotiations.
Earlier this week, word emerged that Michaels had been asked to produce the February ceremony with comedian Jimmy Fallon hosting, but sources said ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars, had raised objections to having the late-night star from rival NBC play emcee on one of the year's most-watched shows.
A spokeswoman for the academy on Thursday denied that talks with Fallon and Michaels were taking place. Calls to the academy regarding Ganis were not immediately returned; Ganis could not be reached for comment.
Whether the academy would continue to pursue Ganis should the organization fail to reach a deal with Michaels remains unclear.
Ganis served as president of the motion picture academy from 2005-2009. In addition, Ganis was president of worldwide marketing for Columbia TriStar, vice chairman of Columbia Pictures and president of marketing and distribution for Columbia Pictures. He also held top posts at Lucasfilm, Warner Bros., Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox.
Ganis' recent movie credits as a producer include the Adam Sandler comedies "Big Daddy" and "Mr. Deeds" and the drama "Akeelah and the Bee."
In the last few years he has been active in the academy's outreach efforts to colleges and universities around the country, traveling with Tom Sherak, who recently concluded his term as AMPAS president, to espouse the virtues of the film industry to interested students.
Ganis was also key in forming a partnership with Michael Govan and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for the creation of a film museum, which will be housed in the old May Co. building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.
Bob Iger, the chief executive of ABC's corporate parent Disney, is said to be unhappy with the idea of showcasing Fallon, whose show competes with ABC's late-night program featuring Jimmy Kimmel. Though he does not sit on the board of the academy, Iger is the chairman of its museum fundraising efforts.
The body's goal is to raise $100 million by October for the project.
The job of selecting an Oscar telecast producer usually falls to the academy president, and it was Sherak who began negotiations with Michaels, Fallon and Ganis prior to his term coming to an end. On Tuesday, longtime producer Hawk Koch was named president of the academy, replacing Sherak, whose term was up after three years.
It's unclear how Koch will choose to move forward. He said in interviews Wednesday that his first order of business was to find an Oscar show producer and that comedy was a priority.
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