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Chris Rock Confirmed to Host the Oscars

Chris Rock has been confirmed as host of the 88th Academy Awards, producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin announced Wednesday.

Variety reported on Tuesday that the comedian was in serious talks to return to the awards show. He previously hosted the Oscars in 2005.

Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” said Hill and Hudlin. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian — he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host!”

The veteran comedian takes over as MC after Neil Patrick Harris hosted last year’s telecast, which drew the show’s lowest ratings in six years — down 16% from the previous year’s Oscars.

In an interview with Variety last month, Hill and Hudlin said they were eager to give the ABC telecast a fresh look.

“The challenge is to make it entertaining so it doesn’t seem like a lesson, so the audience cares for people when they get onstage,” Hill said.

Hill, a 25-year veteran from Fox Sports, also helped launch the mega-hit “American Idol.” Hudlin and Rock worked together on the TV series “Everybody Hates Chris.”

“We share David and Reggie’s excitement in welcoming Chris, whose comedic voice has really defined a generation,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “He is certain to bring his amazing array of talents to this year’s show.”

Rock also said he was thrilled about his upcoming sophomore stint as host.

“I’m so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” said Rock. “It’s great to be back.”

In the decade since Rock hosted, Ellen DeGeneres MCed the ceremony twice in 2007 and 2014, as did Jon Stewart in 2006 and 2008. Hugh Jackman (2009), Billy Crystal (2012), Seth MacFarlane (2013), and the duos of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (2010) and James Franco and Anne Hathaway (2011) also hosted Hollywood’s biggest event of the year.

The 2016 Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 28.

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