Bittersweet news, folks. After eight years on Saturday Night Live, castmember Bill Hader has announced that he will exit the series after the end of this current season. Speaking with the New York Times, Hader explained, “It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point. It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.’ ” The actor has been a standout on the show since his first appearance in 2005, solidifying himself as one of the best impressionists in SNL history with dead-on portrayals of everyone from Alan Arkin to Vincent Price. His original characters are highlights as well, with Stefon appearances on Weekend Update eliciting squeals from both the live audience and folks watching at home. Hit the jump for more.
The network upfront presentations are upon us, and one of the first big pieces of news to be announced concerns NBC’s late night shakeup. The network previously revealed that Jimmy Fallon will be taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno next year, and rumors have been swirling for months that Saturday Night Live veteran and current head writer Seth Meyers might land the Late Night gig once Fallon exits. Well NBC confirmed today that Meyers will indeed be taking over as the host of NBC’s Late Night when Fallon leaves the show next year, vacating his position at SNL.
Lorne Michaels, who produces both SNL and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, will stay on as executive producer of Late Night under Meyers’ tutelage, and Michael Shoemaker will remain the show’s producer. This leaves the head writer slot at SNL open, and many have already been suggesting comedian/SNL writer John Mulaney for the job. Also vacant at SNL will be the Weekend Update desk, so start those betting pools now. Hit the jump to read NBC’s press release on the matter. Late Night with Seth Meyers will premiere sometime in 2014.
Saturday Night Live is closing out their 2012-2013 season strong, bringing back three SNL veterans to host. Previously announced for the May 4th show was Zach Galifianakis, who has The Hangover Part III coming out next month as well. Galifianakis has hosted SNL before, and I can only hope he brings out his chops singing Annie again. SNL has had plenty of opening monologues that involved singing this year, but I can’t help but think that Galifianakis is going to have a stand out one regardless. The musical guest will be Of Monsters and Men. Hit the jump for more on the episodes hosted by Kristen Wiig and Ben Affleck.
One of my favorite Saturday Night Live sketches from the past few years was “Get in the Cage.” The sketch featured Andy Samberg as Nicolas Cage, and each episode would have “Cage” talking with fellow thespians about their craft and their recent work. Some of the episodes included Bradley Cooper, Jude Law, Jake Gyllenhaal, Liam Neeson, and would you believe the real Nicolas Cage. About a year ago, when Cage was promoting Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance, he stopped by SNL and did the sketch with Samberg. Not only was it a huge surprise, it was also incredibly funny.
At the recent New York City press day for DreamWorks Animations The Croods, I asked Cage about appearing in the sketch and mentioned how funny it was. While I was a bit nervous that he wouldn’t want to talk about it, this was not the case at all. In fact, it seemed like he might have been waiting for someone to ask him about it, as he wanted to go on record that not everything he says is a whisper or a scream. Hit the jump to watch the sketch and to see Cage talk about appearing on SNL. Look for my full interview with Cage tomorrow.
Fresh off the show’s highest ratings in 14 months thanks to one Justin Timberlake, a couple of exciting new hosts have been announced for Saturday Night Live’s April episodes. Melissa McCarthy will return to host for her second time on April 6th with musical guest Phoenix, while Vince Vaughn is set to host again on April 13th with musical guest Miguel, marking his first time hosting since 1998. McCarthy’s episode of SNL last February was fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her back on the show. Hit the jump to garlic ranch blast me now.
It was nigh on three years ago that one mister James Franco, a largely unknown film student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, presented his behind-the-scenes documentary of Saturday Night Live to the delight of audiences at SXSW. Entitled Saturday Night the film charmed audiences and critics alike once again at Tribeca, (link 1) was then picked up by Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope, and then… silence.
Until today that is. Hit the jump for news straight from the Franco’s mouth.
Justin Timberlake’s return to music/world takeover is adding a crucial component: a classic appearance on SNL. The Saturday Night Live veteran will return to host and act as musical guest on the NBC variety show on March 9th, marking the multi-talented Timberlake’s fifth time as an SNL host. Timberlake’s appearance on the show always makes for some great comedic moments, and he’s actually netted four Emmy awards from his work on SNL. In case the hosting duties weren’t enough JT for you, though, it was also announced today that Timberlake will be appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for an entire week, from March 11-15. Timberlake will both perform and take part in interviews each night, all of this to promote his new album The 20/20 Experience.
Additionally, in case you missed the announcement during last week’s episode, Kevin Hart will be hosting Saturday Night Live on March 2nd with musical guest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Hit the jump to relive a classic Timberlake SNL moment.
Quentin Tarantino has teased a third film to complete his Rewritten History trilogy, following up on Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Last night, Saturday Night Live made a strong pitch for what that film could be with the parody Djesus Uncrossed. On the third day after his crucificxion, Jesus returns to life, rolls away the stone in front of the tomb, and sets out on a vendetta against the Romans who crucified him. Or “Row-Maans,” as St. Peter (Taran Killam impersonating Brad Pitt) calls them when he leads the apostles to join in the fight.
It works in large part because I could see Tarantino making a revenge-based version of the Christ story that would be just slightly less wacky. The production designer gets in a lot of nice stylistic touches in, too, including more blood and gore than I was expecting for a broadcast comedy, even after midnight. Check it out after the jump.
NBC’s Saturday Night Live has announced its lineup of hosts and musical guests for this month. As was previously revealed last month, Jennifer Lawrence will be making her SNL debut as host on January 19th with musical guest The Lumineers. The actress will likely be just coming off a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work in Silver Linings Playbook, and though we haven’t seen her in a straight comedy just yet, I imagine the actress’ charisma and candidness will make for some memorable sketches.
Also making an SNL hosting debut is Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who will tackle hosting duties on January 26th alongside musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Levine has been making a transition from music to on-camera work as of late, as he’s one of the hosts of NBC’s The Voice and appears on the FX series American Horror Story: Asylum. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Wednesday night’s TV ratings are in. Here’s a brief look at the highlights:
- ABC comedy Modern Family was the highest rated show of the night, scoring a 4.7 rating and 11.95 million viewers. That’s a rise of 2% from its last new episode’s 4.6 rating.
- The CBS procedural favorite Criminal Minds was also up, garnering a 2.9 rating and 12.27 million viewers to make it the most-watched program of the night. That’s up 7% from last week’s 2.7 rating in the 18-49 demo.
- NBC’s tree-lighting special Christmas in Rockefeller Center scored a 4-year high with a 2.1 rating and 9.1 million viewers, for a rise of 11% from last year’s 1.9 rating.
Hit the jump for the full ratings report for Wednesday, November 28th, including Suburgatory, CSI, Arrow, Supernatural, and more.
Expanding into more theaters this weekend is Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture nomination shoo-in, Lincoln. The period piece is less a cut-and-dry biopic of America’s 16th President, played brilliantly by Daniel Day-Lewis, and more of an examination of the burdens placed on Lincoln to keep a nation from falling apart while abolishing slavery and attempting to hold his personal life together. Lincoln also stars Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, David Strathairn, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lee Pace and Hal Holbrook. For more on the film, here’s three clips, Dave’s review, a great trailer, and all our previous coverage.
At the recent Los Angeles press day I got to speak with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He talked about what was it like to collaborate with Steven Spielberg, whether anything surprised him while researching his role (he plays one of Lincoln’s sons), what it was like to work with Daniel Day-Lewis and what he was like off camera, his directorial debut Don Jon’s Addiction (which I think is premiering at Sundance in January), what it was like to host SNL for the second time, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
At the recent New York press day for Skyfall, I was able to speak with Daniel Craig. We talked about how this is a very grounded and realistic Bond film without the crazy gadgets, what it was like to work with Roger Deakins, was he more nervous to do Bond at the Olympics or host Saturday Night Live, what was the first thing he ate after they wrapped, how proud he is of Skyfall, and more. In addition, I asked him if there was any update on the sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (The Girl Who Played With Fire).
Let me be very clear: I absolutely loved Skyfall. Director Sam Mendes has crafted one of the best James Bond movies ever made and it’s also one of my favorite films of the year. While the Bond franchise is now 50 years old, Mendes has shown the best might be yet to come. I really can’t recommend this film enough. For all our Skyfall coverage including clips, posters, my set visit and more, click here. Skyfall stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Berenice Marlohe, and Naomie Harris. Hit the jump to watch the interview.
Though fans will have to wait until 2014 for new episodes of Louis C.K.’s brilliant comedy series Louie, the comedian will be gracing the airwaves again in just a couple of short weeks. During last night’s Bruno Mars-hosted telecast, it was announced that C.K. will be hosting Saturday Night Live on November 3rd. This will be C.K.’s first time hosting the long-running sketch series, and I can’t wait to see how his comedy will be put to use in the SNL universe. Interestingly, it appears that he actually made an uncredited appearance on SNL in a 1995 episode hosted by Chevy Chase as “escaped prisoner.” C.K. is longtime friends with SNL vet Amy Poheler and has a recurring role on Parks and Recreation, and I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be great to see the actress make some sort of cameo appearance in the episode. He’ll be joined by musical guest fun.
Opening this weekend is director Olivier Megaton‘s Taken 2. In the sequel, Liam Neeson’s character unwisely takes his family on a European vacation, only to find himself and his wife (Famke Janssen) taken hostage by the family members of the henchmen that Neeson brutally murdered in the first film. The film also stars Maggie Grace and Rade Serbedzija. For more on the film, here’s four clips and all our previous coverage.
Last week in New York City I got to sit down with Neeson for an exclusive interview. We talked about whether he was hesitant to do a sequel, what it was like to film in Istanbul, whether the script changed during production, and more. In addition, we also talked about what it was like to host Saturday Night Live, how he was unclear regarding the nature of his role in The Dark Knight Rises or if he’d even make the final cut, whether he’ll work again with Joe Carnahan and if he knows anything about Mark Millar‘s Nemesis. He also talked playing an air marshal in director Jaume Collet-Serra‘s upcoming action film Non-Stop, which is being produced by Joel Silver. Hit the jump to watch.
The fall TV season is fast approaching, and NBC has now announced the first few hosts and musical guests for the upcoming 38th season of Saturday Night Live. On September 15th, Family Guy creator/aspiring lounge singer Seth MacFarlane will kick things off for the season premiere with musical guest Frank Ocean. September 22nd will see the multi-talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt (seriously, is there anything he can’t do?) take on hosting duties alongside musical guest Mumford & Sons in anticipation of the release of Looper, and James Bond himself Daniel Craig is set to host on October 6th with the accompanied musical stylings of Muse.
Both Gordon-Levitt and Craig have hosted SNL before, but this will be the first time for MacFarlane. The incredibly busy mind behind Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show made his feature directorial debut with this summer’s comedy hit Ted. The guy’s a natural showman so we should be in for a good time when SNL returns on September 15th.