Friday, September 24, 2010

Production designer named for telecast

There is one unmistakable message for next year's telecast: it will be made for television.

Steve Bass has been added to the telecast team as production designer, producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced Sept. 23. He replaces David Rockwell, who has designed the ceremony for the past two years and won a 2010 Emmy for his work.

The announcement also marks an overt shift in strategy for the show. Rockwell is an architect, the first one in fact to design for the Oscars. (Fittingly, his firm designed the Kodak Theatre, where the awards are handed out.) Bass, whose main task will be to design the set, has a résumé full of TV specials and awards shows.

Cohen is an Academy Award-winning producer and Mischer, who has 15 Emmys and a Peabody Award, is a television producer/director. Mischer will pull double duty as telecast director as well.

This is the first involvement in an Oscar telecast for all three gentlemen. Mischer and Bass have worked together before — most recently, on the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

“I have collaborated with Steve several times, and he’s the perfect person for this year’s Oscars,” Mischer was quoted in the press release. “He’s an innovative, creative talent who I know will do justice to the tradition and glamour of the Academy Awards.”

“Don and I knew right away that Steve would be the absolute best partner to bring our vision to life in terms of the production design of the Oscar show,” Cohen said in the release. “He is truly a master at designing for high-profile, grand-scale events.”

Bass has won two Emmys, in 1997 as art director of the “Centennial Olympic Games: Opening Ceremonies” – another pairing with Mischer – and in 2005 for his production design work on The 47th Annual Grammy® Awards. He has three additional Emmy nominations for the Grammys (in 2004, 2008 and 2009); his most recent nomination was this year for his work on the 63rd Annual Tony Awards.

Clearly the Academy wants a ceremony that works for TV and it is hiring small screen veterans into order to meet that goal. Another objective for the Academy is to get started on the ceremony as soon as possible. Cohen and Mischer's appointments were announced in June, four month earlier than the year before. Bass' appointment comes more than a month earlier than Rockwell's 2008 appointment.

The Gold Knight would not be surprised if a host was named before Halloween.

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