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Oscars 2006 shift to March

Oscar and the Olympics were headed for a scheduling clash, and Oscar blinked first.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Thursday said the 2006 edition of Hollywood’s highest honors would be moved back by one week to Sunday, March 5, to avoid a conflict with the 2006 Winter Olympics.

With that date, the 78th annual Academy Awards will now fall one week later in the calendar than the Oscar telecasts for 2004 and 2005.

The closing ceremonies of the upcoming Winter Games in Turin, Italy, were already slated to wrap up on the Academy Awards’ “natural” 2006 date of Sunday, Feb. 26., Academy President Frank Pierson said in a statement.

“It didn’t seem fair to make (TV) viewers have to choose between these two special events,” he said. The Olympics and the Oscars both rank among U.S. television’s highest-rated broadcasts.

The Oscars, which had long been held in late March, were moved up a month to the last Sunday of February starting in 2004 for what originally was characterized as a two-year experiment. The upcoming 77th Academy Awards are set for Sunday, Feb. 27, airing live on ABC from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Pierson said the Academy was satisfied with its new awards schedule and that late-February broadcasts of the Oscars would resume in 2007.