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Crystal clear to host Academy Awards

Telecast producers get top choice

Billy Crystal will return as host for the 72nd Academy Awards on March 26, the Acad confirmed Monday.

It’ll be the seventh Oscar stint for the actor-comedian. He took last year off, leaving Whoopi Goldberg to emcee.

Telecast producers Richard D. and Lili Fini Zanuck had made it clear that they wanted Crystal. Scheduling was the only issue (Daily Variety, Dec. 10).

“There’s no doubt that when he said yes, we exhaled,” Lili Zanuck said.

Since taking the producer job earlier in the fall, the Zanucks have fielded constant inquiries about Crystal’s status.

“It’s the one thing people agree on,” Lili Zanuck said. “Unless we were raising a child, the only time everyone in the world tells us how to do something is on this show. And they all want Billy.”

Crystal hosted from 1990-93, then took a three-year break before returning in 1997 and ’98. His last show, dominated by “Titanic,” garnered a 34.9 rating, 55 share — the highest rating since 1983.

ABC will broadcast the Oscars live from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

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