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Mr. Ratner and Mr. Murphy worked together on their latest film, “Tower Heist,” and the director casually floated the notion of hosting the Oscars by the star.

“And Eddie said, ‘Wow, that would be a brilliant idea for you and me to do the Oscars together,’ ” Mr. Ratner recalled.

“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ ” Mr. Ratner said in an interview. He called Mr. Mischer, his co-producer, who immediately warned him not to get his hopes up.

“I said, ‘Not a chance,’ ” the veteran TV director and producer said. “Everybody wants Eddie Murphy. He’s a comedic genius, he’s a brilliant impersonator. … So many times through the years I’ve tried to get Eddie Murphy to agree to come be on a show, and generally he kind of stays to himself and has not been interested in it.”

Mr. Murphy made a rare TV appearance in April on the inaugural Comedy Awards, which Mr. Mischer produced, when the 50-year-old entertainer accepted the Comedy Icon award.

By contrast, when Mr. Murphy was nominated for an Oscar for 2006’s “Dreamgirls,” he did very few interviews and reportedly left the ceremony as soon as his category was announced. (Alan Arkin won for “Little Miss Sunshine.”)

The 84th annual Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre.

ABC’s Harrison to stay as Miss America host

Miss America is sticking with “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, at least for another two years.

The ABC host, who has been front-and-center for the network on several reality competitions, awards shows and last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, told the Associated Press he’s happy to help the pageant showcase young women who’ve become top role models from throughout the country.

“It’s not about you [as host],” Mr. Harrison said. “It’s about these amazing women that have dedicated their lives to this one moment.”

Next year’s pageant is scheduled to air live Jan. 14 from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The pageant’s announcement comes as it marks the 90th anniversary of its first competition this week. Back in 1921 — when Margaret Gorman was crowned — it was little more than a bathing revue. Today, the Miss America Organization touts itself as the country’s largest provider of scholarships to young women, giving more than $45 million last year.

The pageant returned to network television this year for the first time since 2004. It aired in the meantime on cable with CMT and TLC but found itself without a TV deal in March 2010 until ABC picked it up for a three-year deal.

Regis Philbin to retire from show Nov. 18

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