Mike Fleming

Hammond: Billy Crystal Rides To Oscars Rescue — Again!
Tom Sherak: “We’re Weeks Ahead Of Schedule”

UPDATE: The Academy has confirmed to me that Billy Crystal is locked as host.

EARLIER: Well, that didn’t take long. Billy Crystal will be the host of the Academy Awards for the ninth time. Crystal, who has been public about his desire to come back to the Oscars, was the first candidate approached by Don Mischer and Brian Grazer and he said yes right away, I’m told. This comes a day after Eddie Murphy bailed as Oscar host following the resignation of Brett Ratner as producer. Grazer just replaced him last night. They certainly wasted no time in putting the show back on track.

While bringing back Crystal doesn’t do much for the Academy’s recent efforts to inject the awards with young talent (despite last year’s Anne Hathaway-James Franco train wreck), Crystal certainly brings a level of comfort after all the turbulence of the past week.

Crystal has tweeted the news, and here’s what he said: “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”