Eddie Murphy quits Oscars after Brett Ratner exit

Eddie Murphy 24 October 2011 Eddie Murphy stars in Brett Ratner's most recent movie Tower Heist

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Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy has resigned as host of the 2012 Oscar ceremony, due to be held in February.

His decision comes a day after the resignation of producer Brett Ratner, a friend of Murphy, who used a derogatory term in public.

Mr Ratner used the word "fags" during a question and answer session on his latest film Tower Heist.

Mr Ratner recruited Murphy to be the Oscars' next host when he was hired as producer of the 2012 awards ceremony.

The Rush Hour director has been replaced by Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind - and frequent producing partner of director Ron Howard.

"Brian Grazer is a renowned filmmaker who over the past 25 years has produced a diverse and extraordinary body of work," said Academy President Tom Sherak.

"He will certainly bring his tremendous talent, creativity and relationships to the Oscars.'

No replacement has been announced for Murphy.

Ratings push

Correspondents say the comedian's resignation could be a setback for the Academy Awards.

The ceremony has seen declining TV ratings in recent years and is battling the rise of newer awards ceremonies, which appeal to younger audiences.

Choosing Murphy to host for the 2012 ceremony marked a return to the traditional, well-tried formula of a comedian host - one very successful ceremony was hosted by Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal.

Oscar officials and Eddie Murphy himself insisted the split was not an acrimonious one.

"I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," Sherak said of Murphy's decision to step down.

Murphy said: "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."

An online campaign to replace Murphy with the Muppets was initiated on Wednesday.

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