By Lynette Rice
February 05, 2019 at 02:27 PM EST

The new ABC entertainment president is trying to look at the upside of the whole Oscar brouhaha.

In her first appearance in front of reporters Tuesday, Kerry Burke said Kevin Hart’s high-profile departure from the hosting job has actually been a boon to the Oscars because it has kept them “in the conversation.”

“It’s really compelling. People really care,” she told reporters during the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. “I was actually at the nominee luncheon Tuesday. It was a very exciting room to be in. The list of presenters is phenomenal and growing. In no time in history have three movies that have each grossed over $200 million have been nominated. There is going to be a big turnout for this. There are big popular movies being nominated,” she continued, noting that all of the nominated songs would be performed during the ceremony.

Burke added that “beyond the messiness” of the Hart situation, the network and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are “going to stay the course. There was an idea to just have presenters do the Oscars. We all got on board with that quickly. The main goal that the academy promised ABC last year was to keep the show to three hours. Producers decided to not have a host and to go back to having presenters being stars. That’s the best way to keep the show to a brisk three hours.”

Burke, a former top exec at Freeform, only joined ABC two months ago. She replaced Channing Dungey, who ended up going to Netflix.

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