Should Billy Crystal Joke About Kodak Theatre Woes?

From To Kill a Mockingbird to The Accused, the Oscars have always loved a good courtroom drama. But the one framing the Academy Awards this year is casting a pall over the upcoming 84th ceremony.

In Manhattan bankruptcy court yesterday, CIM/H&H Media LP fired back at Eastman Kodak, arguing that the once mighty Rochester company must honor the final nine years of a $72 million naming rights deal:

Signs on the Kodak Theatre, as well as in and around the shopping center where it is located, on street signs, freeway off-ramps, maps, and brochures, make undoing the agreement impossible, according to the filing. With the 2012 Oscars less than three weeks away, “disassociating the Kodak name from the theater before the Academy Awards show, the major event, is not practically feasible,” according to the filing.

Two show-related questions come to mind. One, if Billy Crystal and his writers want to joke about this mess, would the Academy allow them to do so? And two, assuming guild president Tom Sherak gives Billy the Kodak OK, what zingers might he consider?

FishbowlLA thinks there’s potential here for recurring comedy gold. After introducing the topic at the top of the show, Crystal could strategically revisit with updates about the latest developments regarding the venue’s renaming. As in, “I’m hearing now that by the end of tonight, we will all be exiting the Netflix Theatre.”

[Photo: ruigsantos/]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: February 10, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT