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Eddie Murphy to Host 84th Academy Awards on ABC in February

Comedian Eddie Murphy was named to host the 84th Academy Awards, as Oscar organizers chose a successful film and television comic after viewer losses in the previous telecast.

Producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer announced the appointment of Murphy, 50, star of films including “Norbit” and the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls,” in a statement today.

The audience for the yearly telecast waxes and wanes with the popularity of films. At the 2010 show, 41.7 million viewers watched to see if James Cameron’s “Avatar” would win best picture. “The Hurt Locker” ultimately captured the award.

The Oscars telecast is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2012, on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network. The show is typically one of the most-watched U.S. TV events, after the Super Bowl and the National Football League playoffs.

The February 2011 telecast, hosted by actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco, posted a 9.1 percent drop in viewers, according to Nielsen data. Top honors for 2010 films, including best picture and best actor, went to “The King’s Speech.”

Murphy, a former stand-up comic, transitioned to movies, including the “Beverly Hills Cops” films, in the 1980s after joining the cast of television’s “Saturday Night Live.” He is featured in “Tower Heist,” a Ratner-directed comedy scheduled for release on Nov. 4.

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