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My chat with Craig Zadan about the Oscars!

It was so great to see Craig Zadan the other day at the TV Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena.

He was there, along with producing partner Neil Meron and others, to talk up season two of NBC’s Smash which I will have plenty about in the coming weeks.

I was hoping Craig might give me a few exclusive tidbits about the Feb. 24 telecast but no dice!

Maybe I’d get more out of if I attended the nominees announcement on Thursday in Beverly Hills but I told him 5:30 a.m. was just a little too early for me this year! (I’ve covered the nominations in person many times in the past).

Okay, so no exclusives. But Craig, producer of such films as Chicago, Hairspray and the awesome 1993 TV version of Gypsy, did promise mega entertainment.

‘We’re putting in as much entertainment as had ever been put into and Oscar show. So we’re very, very excited about what we’re going to do with the show.’

Oscar telecasts rarely make everyone happy and sometimes, like two years ago when James Franco and Anne Hathaway bombed as co-hosts, make seemingly no one happy.

‘People will decide if they like it or not,’ Craig says. ‘Our job is to really make it the show that we want to see.’

And that job has been very consuming.

”We’re working seven days a week, 24 hours a day and having the best time of our lives,’ says Zadan. ‘It’s such a joy, it’s so exciting.’

So how are Zadan and Meron juggling their Oscar duties with their jobs as executive producers on Smash which returns to the NBC schedule for its second season Feb. 5.

‘We’re working at Smash at the same time,’ Zadan says. ‘But the difference is last season we were in Brooklyn working on Smash seven days a week. This year, we’re working on the Oscars in person but we’re on conference calls and email chains – there are 100 emails an hour on Smash. So we’re constantly answering and making a decision on this or making a making a decision on that. Should we do this song or that song? That costume or this costume? The decisions in Smash are ongoing all day long. Even though we’re not physically there, we’re dealing with it electronically.’

He adds: ‘We’re in the room for the Oscars until February 24 and then we’re free.’

Well, as free as two of the busiest producers in show business can be.



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