Did Donald Trump Just Buy Us Another Jimmy Kimmel-Hosted Oscars?

Jimmy Kimmel was widely praised last month for presiding over an entertaining edition of The Academy Awards that actually saw year-over-year ratings growth (a rarity these days in linear television).

In fact, it was such a success that when asked whether he’d invite Kimmel back to host next year, ABC’s executive vice president of Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment Rob Mills said he’d be willing to sign Kimmel to a “lifetime contract” for hosting the Oscars. “I mean, I will certainly beg him to do it,” he said.

At the time, Kimmel’s side seemed less enthused. Asked about the possibility of returning, Kimmel’s wife and producing partner Molly McNearny said they needed time to think about it. “Ask me in a month or two after I’ve had a little bit of vitamin D maybe… I honestly don’t know. I feel like we’ve done a great job. We had four good ones and maybe let someone else try it now.”

Well, it’s been a month, and if last night was any indication, Donald Trump may have just put the fire back in Kimmel’s belly.

After Trump posted a puzzling rant to social media yesterday in which he criticized Kimmel for an Oscars ratings drop that didn’t happen and a Best Picture presentation that he didn’t actually give, the late-night host delivered a blistering rebuttal in which he fact-checked the president’s post line by line.

Replying to Trump’s claim that Kimmel will “go down in television history as the worst host ever of the once vaunted Academy Awards”, Kimmel shot back, “That must be why they asked me to host the show again next year.” 

“Which I wasn’t planning to do, but now I might,” he added to cheers from the audience. “Maybe you can watch on the TV in the rec room at Rikers.”

Although it was clearly said in jest, there may well be a grain of truth in Kimmel’s threat to return to the Oscars stage. If there’s one thing the host is known to enjoy these days, it’s sparring with Trump.

In fact, for good measure last night, Kimmel replayed a clip of the Oscars joke that appeared to set Trump off in the first place.

Next year’s Oscars are a long way away, and anything can happen between now and then. Kimmel’s hiring for this past year’s Oscars was confirmed in November 2023. By that time this year, Kimmel will presumably know if Trump will be watching the ceremony from the White House or somewhere else.

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