Oscars hosts' low pay complicating search to replace Kevin Hart: Report

A history of low pay for Oscars hosts is complicating the search to replace comedian Kevin Hart for the 2019 Academy Awards, according to a report Monday.

The tiny paycheck for hosting duties has made it difficult for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to lure top talent to take hosting duties for years, TMZ reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the show. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel said he earned just $15,000 to host last year’s show, even as ABC charged millions of dollars per 30-second advertisement for the broadcast.

“I think it’s illegal to pay nothing,” Kimmel told radio station KROQ last year, according to the New York Post. “I’m not sure I was supposed to reveal this, but nobody told me not to … They asked like 14 people, and they all said no, and then there was me.”

The low pay is even more of a roadblock given the amount of scrutiny that hosts often face for their performances. The Academy opts not to increase the host’s salary because the gig is considered a major career opportunity, according to TMZ.

The Academy did not immediately return a request for comment.

Hart stepped down as this year’s Oscars host last week after facing widespread criticism for resurfaced homophobic posts on his Twitter account. The comedian subsequently apologized for the tweet.

The 2019 Oscars will air on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET.