THR Poll: Oscar Viewers Prefer Eddie Murphy Over Billy Crystal as Show Host

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This article originally appeared in the Nov. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The Academy breathed a sigh of relief when Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal took over for Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy as producer and host of the Oscars. But are viewers as excited to see Crystal's ninth turn as emcee?

To find out, market research firm Penn Schoen Berland surveyed 510 awards-show viewers aged 13 to 59 and compared the results against similar surveys about Murphy and 2011 hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Notes pollster Jon Penn, "A Crystal Oscars restores class and credibility to the show, but his appeal is significantly older, female and conservative."

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56%: Viewers who support Crystal as host
  • Down from 72 percent for Murphy
  • Only viewers over 45 and women over 30 support Crystal more than Murphy
  • 53 percent of nonwhites support Crystal; 82 percent of nonwhites support Murphy
  • Crystal's overall support is only 2 percent higher than that for Franco and Hathaway (54 percent)

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67%: Viewers who intend to watch the Crystal-hosted Oscars

  • 7 percent lower than those who would watch a Murphy show
  • African-Americans are more than 2½ times less likely to watch Crystal
  • In head-to-head competition, Murphy is the choice of 58 percent of viewers, compared with Crystal's 42 percent
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