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Hip - and hot - comedian Stewart answers Oscars' call

Hoping to revive sagging viewership of the Oscars among young people, the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences has signed TV comedian Jon Stewart as host of the 78th Annual Academy Awards ceremonies in Los Angeles March 5. The producer, Gil Cates, has called Stewart, the star of Comedy Central's Emmy-winning mock newscast, "The Daily Show," the "epitome of the perfect host - smart, engaging, irreverent, and funny." Stewart, a first-timer, will follow another comedian, Chris Rock, who made his own debut last year. Both represent a significant change from the roster of traditional film industry celebrities who've emceed the Oscar show most often. The list, with the number of times each has been the host or cohost:
Bob Hope: 18
Billy Crystal: 8
Johnny Carson: 5
Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Lemmon: 4 each
Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Jerry Lewis, David Niven, Frank Sinatra: 3 each
- Associated Press/ www.variety.com

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