News Nuggets: Are Oscars producers Neil Meron, Craig Zadan departing after their 3-year run?

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are offering major hints they will not be returning to produce the Academy Awards again next year. The duo has been reponsible for the Oscars the past three years, but Zadan tweeted this weekend: “Hoping that whoever produces the #Oscars next year will retain our innovations: #TeamOscar program & reading all 24 nom on Oscar nom morning.” They were the first producers in charge of at least three broadcasts in a row since Gil Cates (1990-1995). February’s ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris was the lowest-rated in six years, down 16% from last year’s show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. The Wrap

After critics were enraged that the Oscars had no people of color among the acting nominees this year, the Emmys may be poised for the opposite situation. Big Emmy campaigns are ahead for both Taraji P. Henson (“Empire“) and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder“). If Kerry Washington (“Scandal“) is also nominated again, half of the Best Drama Actress field will be African-American. No black actress has ever won that category before at the Emmys. TV Line

Empire’ first season – Click here to discuss in our forums

In a weekend to forget at the box office, both newcomers stumble. Sci-fi adventure “Chappie” starring Hugh Jackman only manages $13.3 million for first place. The Vince Vaughn movie “Unfinished Business” has the lowest debut of his career with just $4.8 million. In second place is the Will Smith film “Focus,” which falls from first with $10 million. Variety

American Sniper marks a big milestone this weekend. The Clint Eastwood film starring Bradley Cooper hit $337.2 million domestic, making it the highest grossing film released in 2014. While it had only a limited release at the end of December, most of its money has been made in 2015. The other two top films for the year were “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” ($336.8 million) and “Guardians of the Galaxy” ($333 million). USA Today

The Americans’ third season – Click here to post your comments

An essay by Holly Anderson asks, “What’s it going to take to get you people to watch ‘The Americans‘?” She wonders if maybe it is the extensive use of wigs that is “keeping the vast majority of you” from watching this great show on FX. Could it be that it sounds like “vegetables I don’t like” or that you don’t trust critics anymore? The period drama set in the 1980s stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Soviet spies living undercover near Washington, D.C. Grantland

When “Homeland” returns for a fifth season this fall, look for a major change. Co-creator Alex Gansa reveals at PaleyFest that the Emmy-winning Showtime drama will skip forward two-and-a-half years from last season’s finale. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) will no longer be an intelligence officer and will be living somewhere in Europe, possibly Germany. Huffington Post

Clark Collis reviews the new Larry David plays “Fish in the Dark” as “pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.” He says that it feels like an extended episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with David as a curmudgeonly character in comic situations. It is “an entertaining comedy machine” also starring Rita Wilson, Jayne Houdyshell, Ben Shenkman, and Rosie Perez. Entertainment Weekly

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