Chris Rock may host the Oscar ceremony in 2023 after Will Smith’s “very unfortunate” slap, ABC executive teases

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Plan ahead? The Oscars of 2022 are unlikely to be left behind, but ABC executive director Craig Ervich is already eyeing potential hosts of the 2023 show, among them Chris Rock.

Ervich, the network’s president of entertainment, told Deadline on Tuesday, May 17, that the team is ready to introduce the 57-year-old comedian after his altercation with Will Smith at this year’s ceremony. Smith, 53, burst onto the stage during the March broadcast and punched Rock in the face in response to a joke he made about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair.

“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was a really successful year for the show,— Ervich continued. “Obviously there was a lot of controversy that overshadowed many of the positive aspects of the show, but I was very happy with the program. Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started year after year, and we came back with great success.”

The executive teased that the 95th annual Awards ceremony, currently scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in March 2023, will be “even better” than viewers have seen before. “There is always something to learn,” added Ervich.

Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall attended the ceremony together earlier this year, but their playful snippets and monologues were hardly in the spotlight after the incident with Smith. The “King Richard” actor tearfully accepted the award for best Actor just moments after hitting Rock, and then took to Instagram to offer an official apology for his “destructive” behavior. As the controversy continued to make headlines, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was banned from participating in all Oscar events for the next 10 years.

“Will knows that the road to redemption will be long and painful, and some part of him is used to the fact that he will never be able to fully repair the damage caused.”

The insider added: “They know it’s best to keep quiet. The only healer is time.”

Rock, for his part, has been gradually talking about the incident during his performances, joking during a show in California last month that he wouldn’t talk about what happened “until I get paid.” The Madagascar actor continued to make fun of the drama during a performance in London on Thursday, May 12.

“I’m fine if anyone is interested. Got most of my hearing back,” he teased. — Don’t expect me to talk about bulls. I’ll tell you about it sometime- on Netflix. Your tickets were expensive, but not that expensive.