News Nuggets: Oscar producers Craig Zadan, Neil Meron officially will not return next year

Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron confirm they are not returning to produce next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. The duo produced the past three telecasts but hinted earlier this month they would not be back. The Board of Governors met Tuesday night to discuss last month’s show, but no decision was made by that group on whether they would be asked to return. The choice was theirs, and Zadan now reveals to Pete Hammond that they had a three-year agreement from the beginning to produce the Oscars to create continuity but that it was never announced publicly. The two men will now develop new Broadway productions and at least one more live musical event for NBC (after “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan Live”). Deadline

Anne Thompson is already offering Academy officials her idea of an Oscars producer: funnyman Judd Apatow. She says the director/writer/producer “will surely deliver a rapid-fire funny show with appeal to the younger demo.” If he is on board, maybe people like Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jonah Hill, and Seth Rogen could have major roles. Thompson on Hollywood

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As rumored, Emmy-winning “Downton Abbey” will be ending its run after the upcoming sixth season. The drama has consistently broken records for viewership on public television. Executive producer Gareth Neame says they wanted to stop “when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans.” The Wrap

The TCM Classic Film Festival is now underway in Hollywood. Special guests include Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer for the 50th anniversary of “The Sound of Music,” Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, and Ann-Margret. Screenings include “Reign of Terror,” “My Darling Clementine,” “Malcolm X,” “Lenny,” “42nd Street,” and “Apollo 13.” Film Experience

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Saturday Night Live” is back with three new shows starting this weekend. The next show on March 28 is hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with musical guest George Ezra. On April 4, Oscar nominee Michael Keaton is back after a long absence with music from Carly Rae Jepsen. Hot “Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson hosts her first time on April 11 with musical guest Mumford and Sons. Vulture

A “Seinfeld” favorite will replace his former boss on Broadway. Jason Alexander will take the lead role in “Fish in the Dark” for Larry David. The show is being extended beyond its original closing date of June 7, so Alexander will start then through July 19. The show has brought in a massive $13.5 million advance. Variety

In a surprising move, NBC is bringing a show back from the dead. ABC comedy series “Coach” returns after an 18-year absence with original star Craig T. Nelson. The network has ordered 13 episodes straight to series and will pick up with the title character in retirement. Creator Barry Kemp will also be back to write and executive produce. TV Line

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