Late-night comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live will debut on Sept. 30 without five key castmembers.
In addition to the previously announced departures of Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch, who are working on the prime time comedy 30 Rock, eight-year veterans Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz have been sacked, as well as Finesse Mitchell.
The cast for the upcoming season will be made up of Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Bill Hader, Darrell Hammond, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson and Kristen Wiig.
The show will begin its 32nd season with just 11 regular players--down nearly one-third from last year's cast of 16 and one of the smallest ensembles in recent memory.
Rumors swirled in the media about who might be leaving the show after creator Lorne Michaels told reporters that budget cuts had forced him to make tough choices about the upcoming season.
Comedian Dane Cook will host the first show in the new season with The Killers appearing as guests.
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Major networks and cable outlets are planning extensive, daylong coverage of the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Many advertisers have opted out of the coverage, which means networks will offer TV viewers an entire day of retrospective with little or no commercial breaks.
With retrospectives hard to avoid, will the coverage be seen as overkill?
According to The Associated Press, networks are asking themselves the same thing.
Mark Lukasiewicz, executive producer for special projects at NBC News, said it's a question everyone is grappling with. "I don't think anybody has a handle on it. It's a very tough call. The great thing about television is: If you've had enough, you can turn it off."
NBC will air a commemorative concert the night of 9/11, but will run a Dateline NBC special hosted by Tom Brokaw the night before. The network figures viewers may be overdosed on the subject by midday on the 11th, the AP reports.
ABC and CBS, however, are gambling that people will want to see more. Both networks will focus on reactions of how the government responded in the week following 9/11 in primetime specials.
Here is a rundown of network and cable stations' anniversary coverage on Sept. 11, according to USA TODAY:
ABC Coverage of the day's memorial events from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET/4 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT, four hours of primetime (including a minute-by-minute account of the twin towers' collapse in cooperation with USA TODAY) and Nightline. Peter Jennings will moderate a new edition of Answering Children's Questions, which aired last fall.
CBS With 9/11: The Day That Changed America, viewers will get expanded editions of The Early Show and the CBS Evening News, with primetime coverage featuring 60 Minutes contributors and an exclusive interview with President George Bush. The documentary 9/11 will be rebroadcast Sept. 8 at 9 p.m.
NBC: Themed America Remembers, coverage includes a six-hour edition of Today; a town-hall meeting with rescuers, victims' families and survivors; and continuous coverage anchored by Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams. Concert for America (to be taped Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C.) will air at 9 p.m. as a tribute.
FOX: The Day America Changed, a two-hour special hosted by Brit Hume, will air at 9 p.m. ET (live)/PT (taped). The special features interviews with survivors, rescuers and family members and will include Greta Van Susteren, Shepard Smith and Bill O'Reilly.
CNN: Using the America Remembers label just like NBC, CNN plans 12-hour coverage anchored by Aaron Brown and Paula Zahn from CNN's Manhattan rooftop at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT, a two-hour special with Brown and Connie Chung at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and a Larry King show at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. A two-part Sept. 11 documentary also airs Aug. 17 and 24 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Fox News Channel will air regularly scheduled programming commercial-free on Sept. 11 from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET/2 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT.
PBS: America Rebuilds, a documentary about the aftereffects of Sept. 11 aided by special access from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, airs Sept. 10 at 10 p.m.
BBC America: Events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania where hijacked planes crashed will be covered live from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET/3 a.m. to 10 a.m. PT, along with overseas coverage.
For viewers looking for escapism, TBS will air The Wedding Singer, a comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Jessica Alba, Annette Bening, Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman and Damon Wayans have been added to the list of presenters for the 59th Golden Globe Awards. The Globes, which honor both film and television work, will be telecast Sunday on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
John Malkovich makes his directorial debut at the Sundance Film Festival with The Dancer Upstairs, a film about one man's struggle with his conscience as he moves up the ladder inside a corrupt police department and a morally bankrupt government. The political thriller stars Spanish actor Javier Bardem and Italian actress Laura Morante.
President Bush's weekend fainting episode after a pretzel went down the wrong way has become fodder for late-night comedians. CBS Late Show host David Letterman joked about the president's four-second blackout, adding, "Fortunately, it was the same four seconds that Dick Cheney was conscious." Jay Leno, host of NBC's Tonight Show, quipped, "They ran to get Dick Cheney, and they realized nobody could remember the undisclosed location he was hiding in."
Police in Camdenton, Mo. on Thursday found Nicolas Cage's stolen 1989 Porsche Sportster submerged in the Lake of the Ozarks, The Associated Press reports. The black convertible was stolen from a transport trailer on its way from California to Pennsylvania on Christmas day from a parking lot in Arnold, Mo., just south of St. Louis. A 19-year-old has been charged with first-degree auto tampering in connection with the heist.
TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly, host of the Fox News Channel show The
O'Reilly Factor, told reporters this week that CNN's Paula Zahn was just being politically correct when she expressed offense at a promotion describing her as sexy. "I think Paula should have just said, 'Hey, if somebody thinks I'm sexy, OK, but my primary reason that I'm here is because I know what I'm talking about,'" he said. To say she's offended, O'Reilly continued, is a "bunch of bull.'" Zahn left the Fox News Channel in September to join CNN.
David Bowie checked himself into the Good Samaritan Hospital in Palm Beach, Fla., complaining of a tight chest. The 55-year-old rock legend underwent tests and is receiving treatment for a chest infection. Bowie, a heavy smoker, had been suffering from a bout of flu in the weeks leading to his hospitalization.
Now that he is running both Viacom-owned networks, CBS president Leslie Moonves said on Monday he does not plan on turning UPN into a "CBS 2," Variety reports. Moonves told reporters that UPN "will continue to be an independent brand with a distinct personality and distinct target audiences."
Comedian Denis Leary, whose ABC series The Job is filmed on the streets of Manhattan and in a studio in Queens, says the Big Apple is an important element that gives the show credibility. "I love Seinfeld and it doesn't matter that it wasn't shot in New York, but with NYPD Blue it kind of makes a difference," he said. "I can tell it's on a [studio] lot--no matter how they try to fool you."
Ben Vereen will receive a heroism award from the city of Miami for chasing a suspect after he witnessed a robbery, the AP reports. On Dec. 27, Vereen saw a man knock down a woman pushing a baby stroller and take her purse. Vereen then chased the felon in his pickup truck while calling for help but the culprit got away. The 55-year-old actor is appearing in a production of I'm Not Rappaport at the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
Divorce lawyer Raoul Felder has sued The West Wing actor Ron Silver for an alleged unpaid $258,000 legal bill, AP reports. The Felder, who is currently representing former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his divorce from Donna Hanover, represented Silver in his 1997 divorce from Self magazine editor Lynne Miller.
The cartoon band Gorillaz has been nominated for six Brit Award--the UK's equivalent of the Grammys--including best group, best album and best single for its hit "Clint Eastwood." Dido, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue each received four nominations. The awards will be presented at Earl's Court Arena in London on Feb. 20.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats will close its door on May 11, after 9,000 performances in London's West End, the AP reports. Cats, the longest-running musical to close in London, has taken in $197 million at the box office and been seen by more than 8 million people.
ABC has let go New York-based staffers from former hit show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. A network spokesperson explained that the layoffs were part of the natural cycle of a show on hiatus, but ABC's new entertainment president Susan Lynne said Sunday that the damage to Millionaire may be irreparable, PageSix.com reports.