Eddie Murphy Exits as Oscar Host

41 REP Eddie Murphy H
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THR enlisted Penn Schoen Berland to gauge viewer interest via an online survey of 550 awards show viewers ages 13 to 59 taken Nov. 6. Results were compared against a sample of 450 viewers interviewed after James Franco and Anne Hathaway were announced as hosts in 2010.

Eddie Murphy has stepped down as host of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. The move comes a day after show producer Brett Ratner exited.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak said Wednesday in a statement, "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well."

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Commented Murphy, "First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."

Ratner directed Murphy in Tower Heist. He stepped down as producer of the Oscar telecast Tuesday after making a series of ill-judged remarks in recent days, including saying "rehearsal is for fags" and discussing his sex life with Howard Stern. Ratner went on Stern's radio show Monday amid the growing controversy over his first remark made at Hollywood's ArcLight theater Friday night.

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Ratner said Tuesday, "Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents."

The 84th Academy Awards telecast takes place Feb. 26, 2012, giving remaining show producers roughly three months to find a replacement for Murphy.

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