Following a hit show is never easy whether its in the 9:30 PM slot on NBC Thursday nights or you're that over-hyped new show in the post Super Bowl slot. So in some ways, you have to feel for new Oscar producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman.  Publicly the second choice after last year's heralded team of Larry Mark and Bill Condon brought surprise, style and class back to the king of award shows, the mismatched duo have been hard at work trying to make the 82nd Oscars just as memorable.  Well, they are certainly trying.

The theme this year -- at least at the moment -- is "team." That's mostly to tie into the fact the show has two hosts in Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin instead of the more recent trend of one (and again, after Hugh Jackman turned down an immediate repeat).  As previously reported, Baldwin was asked first and said he'd only do it if Martin (a two-time singular emcee) came on board.  Multiple hosts aren't anything new to Oscar, although it's been over two decades since they've gone in that direction.  More odd is how the duo will work together, but we're betting Martin will make sure it won't go too negative or sarcastic.  Baldwin's hilarious for 30 minutes, but he can't be ripping on everyone for three hours.  That's why Chris Rock hasn't been back.

But wait! There's more. Now, realize all of this can be scrapped within the next two months, but according to HitFix's sources it's all "in" for now.

- Musical director Marc Shaiman has written an original song that will open the show centered around the "team" theme to introduce Baldwin and Martin together.  Oh, and expect a glitzy number with 500 or so dancers (so much for Shankman's promise to only do numbers if it fit with the nominees).
- A tribute to John Hughes is currently planned outside of the traditional In Memoriam segment.
- Will the show keep last year's set up of having five previous Oscar winners present to each nominee before announcing the winner?  At first, it appeared like that wouldn't be the case.  Now, after significant push back ("I wish that would have happened when I won," says one former winner) smarter (begrudgingly?) heads have prevailed and friends of each nominee will present the two main acting categories. Yes, that's right. Not previous winners, but friends (it'll be just like "This is your life Helen Mirren!"). 
- Big surprise, but your producers have one obsession for the show: Taylor Lautner. Seriously, if the "New Moon" star makes the date all will be well in Oscar land.  Considering he's already playing the Globes and has appeared on practically every other awards show this year its hard to imagine he won't show up if invited.  Whether he's worth all the fuss for potential ratings is something else entirely.

Luckily for Mechanic, Shankman and the Academy, what new twists they bring to Oscar won't matter much.  The show will be handed a treasure full of potential ratings magic with numerous nominations for "Avatar." The last time a hit this massive was a potential best picture winner?  No, not "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings" (although that show did do well), but Cameron's other box office dominator, "Titanic." That show, the 70th Academy Awards, found over 57 million people watching, the biggest audience in the last 20 years.  If the Academy can get to 40 million (36.9 million watched last year), ABC will be doing cartwheels.

Sometimes people just get lucky.

More scoops and insider word on the show as it comes in.

 

As the season heats up, look for breaking awards season news and commentary daily on Awards Campaign.  For the latest, follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.