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Zadan, Meron invited back to produce 2015 Oscars show: Academy

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Academy Award Producers, look on at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Academy Award Producers, look on at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Organizers of the Oscars ceremony invited the producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on Monday to run the live awards show for a third consecutive year, after this year's show brought in the best television ratings in 14 years.

Some 43.7 million viewers in the United States tuned into the ABC live telecast of Hollywood's biggest night, hosted by comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, 8 percent more than the previous year and the highest number since 2000, according to Nielsen ratings data.

"Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership," said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of Zadan and Meron.

The veteran film and musical producers were under pressure this year to deliver a show that would boost ratings, particularly among young viewers, and avoid the controversy of the previous year's Oscars, when host Seth MacFarlane's provocative comedy prompted harsh criticism.

DeGeneres' middle-of-the-road approach, which included a star-studded selfie and pizza delivery, received generally high marks, although critics complained about an overly long show.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not yet said who will host the 87th Oscars on February 22, 2015.

The Oscars attract the biggest non-sports audience in the United States, and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC network has signed on to broadcast the film industry's highest honors through 2020.

(Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Paul Simao)

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