Would Justin Timberlake Hosting the 2014 Oscars Be an Improvement or Equivalent to Seth MacFarlane?

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Now that we know that the Oscars will air a little later next year, the Academy may have to pick a bold choice for host before audiences become too impatient. And with the rumors of Justin Timberlake perhaps hosting then, there may be just enough controversy associated with that to whet the appetites of curiosity seekers who seem to live for watching a host crash and burn. In theory, of course, Justin Timberlake sounds like a quadruple threat pulling in an even better demographic than Seth MacFarlane managed.

Evidence is around lately that Timberlake seems to be appealing to older people as well as the much younger demographic every TV event wants. That's because, in the abstract, he seems like a good family entertainer who's capable of singing, dancing, comedy, and just about anything else that needs to be done to hold down a four-hour show. But some of those people may have forgotten how daring he can get in his comedy material, particularly if some of his new fans go to bed too early before catching "Saturday Night Live."

Old and dusty rumors about Timberlake being in collusion with Janet Jackson on her "Boobgate" debacle at the 2004 Super Bowl should remain unfounded. Regardless, we know he likes to take risks in the live arena, which could take him much closer to Seth MacFarlane territory than perhaps the majority wants. The evolution of the award host has simply gone to a place where they have to do something controversial during the show to warrant the time being there.

So could Timberlake be tamed to a point where he could be more family friendly as Oscar host without being considered boring? I've recently stated my opinion that Seth MacFarlane mostly found a good balance between his prurient and more accessible sides. Since then, though, many people still complain about the "We Saw Your Boobs" number and other jokes that simply don't sit well with the average Oscar viewer.

Timberlake arguably has the ability to tone things down and still entertain. Yet, how much resistance would the writers have to not bring Andy Samberg out with Timberlake during the show to do a number as their box-loving "Saturday Night Live" R&B characters? Once audiences see Samberg step out, prepare to hold onto your wigs and keys, as David Letterman once said.

Even if that doesn't happen, Timberlake would have to rely mostly on comedy. Depending on your point of view, when he has to rely on being funny, it can go from brilliant to cold within a short time span. He'd have to slip in musical numbers as MacFarlane did for balance.

The question is whether Timberlake would sing more contemporary musical material to adhere to the young demographic who may not be as plentiful as the older viewers. Confusion may reign in families if Jimmy Fallon stepped out and the two did another chapter in their high-energy and entertaining "History of Rap" numbers.

Of course, the remedy to that is to do a "History of Oscar Songs" where even the impersonation of themes without lyrics may successfully consolidate the bridge of comedy with the music.

In that regard, perhaps having Jimmy Fallon as co-host would bring back the concept of two entertaining hosts providing comedic counterpoint to fill the vacuum of one person needlessly taking on all the pressure.

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