Eddie Murphy (JESSICA RINALDI/REUTERS)

Word leaked over the weekend that Murphy was the choice for producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer, and by Tuesday afternoon, the deal was done.

“Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” Ratner said in a statement.  “With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”

Last year, 37.4 million people watched the Hathaway-Franco-hosted debacle, which was four million fewer than had watched the previous Oscar ceremony — hosted by “SNL” vet Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

The Oscars will air Feb. 26, 2012 on ABC.