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Oscar throws a curve, naming Seth MacFarlane as latest host

Oscar organizers returned to a headlong pursuit of younger viewers Monday by naming Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to host the 85th annual ceremony.

It's a U-turn from last year's deployment of Billy Crystal, who had been hired as a more traditional alternative to 2011's rather unfortunate "young Hollywood" coupling of Anne Hathaway and a seemingly disinterested James Franco.

MacFarlane, who earlier this month hosted the 38th season premiere of Saturday Night Live, also showed up as a presenter on the Sept. 23rd Emmy awards.

"His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh," Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said of MacFarlane in a publicity release. "He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him."

MacFarlane, who also made his feature film directorial debut this summer with the box office hit Ted, said it's an "overwhelming privilege" to host the Oscars, scheduled for Feb. 24th on ABC. "My thoughts about hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors; and, two, I hope they don't find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen roast."

Besides the notably irreverent Family Guy (which has lampooned innumerable Hollywood stars), MacFarlane also is executive producer of The Cleveland Show and American Dad! for Fox's "Animation Domination" Sunday night lineup. And like Crystal, he also enjoys breaking into song.

MacFarlane's first album, "Music Is Better than Words," received two Grammy nominations.