We already knew the teaming of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake was ratings gold for SNL and NBC. The December 21st edition of Fallon-hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guest Timberlake generated the show’s biggest increase ever …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Fox Sells Star China Stake; Lawyer Who Outed J.K. Rowling As ‘Cuckoo’s Calling’ Author Fined; Channel 5 Sale?; Apollo Theatre Update; ‘SNL’
Twenty-First Century Fox is divesting of its stake in Star China TV. China Media Capital’s management team and CMC itself will acquire Fox’s 47% stake for an undisclosed sum. The company, which was already majority owned by CMC, operates three 24-hour Mandarin-language channels and the Fortune Star Chinese movie library. James Murdoch, Deputy COO, Chairman & CEO of International for 21st Century Fox said the sale was part of a “broader agenda” to streamline “affiliate ownership structures.” In other words, Fox is looking to get out of companies in which it cannot have a majority position, Bloomberg notes. (Last January, Fox increased its holdings in German pay-TV group Sky Deutschland from 49.9% to 54.5% and is believed to still be keen on reviving an aborted attempt to acquire the part of BSkyB it does not already own.) CMC chairman Ruigang Li said the Star China deal marked “a new era” China Media Capital is a partner in DreamWorks Animation’s Chinese venture, Oriental DreamWorks.
The lawyer who blew J.K. Rowling’s cover as the author of detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling has been fined £1,000 for breaching privacy rules, the BBC reported. Rowling had penned the book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith but was revealed as its true writer in July after The Sunday Times ran a story outing her. Chris Gossage, a partner at Russells Solicitors, had confided in his wife’s best friend that Rowling had written the book and that person then revealed the information in the course of a Twitter exchange with a journalist. Rowling swiftly took legal action against those responsible. They apologized, and agreed to pay Rowling’s legal fees as well as making a substantial donation to the Soldiers’ Charity. The more recent fines were applied by the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority. Sales of Cuckoo’s Calling skyrocketed after the Harry Potter creator’s identity was made public.
Late night host/cast alumnus Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake returned to Saturday Night Live this week with some familiar sketches and celebrity cameos. Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg briefly popped up, with the NYC mayor at the Weekend Update desk as Fallon officially passed the Late Night reins to Seth Meyers, who’ll take over his seat when Fallon moves to The Tonight Show. Check out highlights from last night:
Last night marked Saturday Night Live hosting gig #13 for John Goodman, who noted that he’d last hosted in 2001 but stopped “because I had to work.” Speaking of having to work, the Inside Llewyn Davis co-star wasn’t the only veteran actor who showed up to promote a new flick: Grudge Match duo Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro dropped by to cameo alongside Goodman as the “Three Wise Guys” in a pre-holiday Nativity sketch (Sly & De Niro’s old-guy boxing pic hits theaters on Christmas Day). Unfortunately they lacked the ease Goodman had elsewhere even dressed as a snowflake and a woman. Meanwhile Kenan Thompson got significant screentime in multiple sketches through the night, including a stint as Black Santa as Weekend Update poked fun at Megyn Kelly‘s recent yuletide comments. Watch highlights below:
UPDATE, FRIDAY 3 PM: The pool of Saturday Night Live finalists is expanding. I’ve learned that Erica Ash, who co-stars on SNL alum Tracy Morgan’s FX pilot Death Pact, also is set to test for the NBC late-night show Monday. She joins the other nine women I reported on last night. I’ve found out that they all have been invited to test, though some of them are currently tied to other projects, so it is unclear how many of them would be available.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY PM: One of these women could follow in the footsteps of Maya Rudolph and become the first black female Saturday Night Livecast member in five years. No one is talking, but I have compiled the names of nine young performers rumored to take the SNL stage on Monday to vie for a featured player spot on the venerable NBC sketch comedy show. SNL chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times today that he plans to audition 7-8 women. The in-studio test follows auditions, including one held in Los Angeles, where some 25 hopefuls we seen. preliminary Here are the names I’m hearing as being on the short list for the Monday test: Bresha Webb, whose photo from the Los Angeles audition posted online brought to light SNL‘s casting plans; improv player Tanisha Long, cast member of MTV’s Girl Code; Misty Monroe, who comes out of Groundlings; Gabrielle Dennis, who recurred on BET’s The Game; and Amber Ruffin, member of Boom Chicago, an Amsterdam-based sketch group; actress-comedian Leslie Jones. Also said to be testing are UCB Theatre performers Sasheer Zamata, whose name had been floated as a suitable SNL candidate before, and Natasha Rothwell, who previously won an NBC Universal Diversity Scholarship; as well as Briana KC.
UPDATED: 4:30 PM: Saturday Night Live exec producer Lorne Michaels says he’s bringing seven or eight female African-American comediennes to New York to audition for the show on Monday — one of whom will be added to the cast in January.
As many as two could “potentially be considered” but he does not want to add too many women at this time because the cast already has five of them, Michaels told The New York Times, in an interview given in the wake of a news report he’d tried out about a dozen black female comediennes in Los Angeles on December 1. Three paragraphs later, the reporter reminded readers that when criticism of the show’s new cast members broke out before the start of the new season, Michaels had said his process for selecting cast members “was driven purely by talent considerations.” Michaels this afternoon told the NYT he had seen two black women performers in Chicago when he was hiring for the show this fall, but they didn’t pan out when brought to New York for their final auditions. “Then when the deck got reshuffled and as we premiered we realized, it looks a different way.” (That would also be about the time the press started shellacking Michaels because the list included no black women and the late night program had not had a black female cast member for six years.)
A couple paragraphs later, the NYT reported Michaels “did not attribute the surge of interest in securing a black female directly to the criticism the show had faced,” but acknowledged that it was “100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman” in the cast.
PREVIOUS: 11:58 AM: NBC‘s Saturday Night Live held a tryout for black comediennes this month at The Groundlings in Los Angele. SNL holds showcase/auditions for potential new talent with some regularity in various locations. But this one attracted more media attention than usual because it was set up for black female hopefuls — one of whom posted a photo on Instagram of the group of hopefuls backstage. And, of course, the auditions took place a few months after the NBC late night series announced its lineup of newbies, and TV critics began hammering the show because the list included no black women, again. Two black male cast members poured a little lighter fluid on the flame – Jay Pharoah, when he told website The Grio he hoped the show would add a black woman, “like they said they were going to do last year, ” and Kenan Thompson, when he told TV Guide the problem is “they never find ones [black comediennes] that are ready.”
After hitting a season low among adults 18-49 (2.0) in the people meter markets and posting the second lowest result of the season in the metered markets households with its most recent original hosted by Josh Hutcherson, …
Host Paul Rudd and his Anchorman 2 cohorts Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and David Koechner kept the promo train chugging along for Ron Burgundy’s December 18 return to screens last night on Saturday Night Live. First Anchorman 2 cast mate and former SNL grand dame Kristen Wiig lampooned NBC’s universally panned The Sound Of Music Live in a cold open featuring Dooneese, then the Anchorman 2 gang backed Rudd in a monologue face-off against boy band One Direction. They closed the show with a Bill Brasky sketch penned by Anchorman director/co-writer Adam McKay, reviving the character first created by Ferrell and McKay. Check out the Channel 4 News team moonlighting on SNL and other highlights below (opening monologue video not available):
Hit the jump for more video clips.
Hunger Games: Catching Fire star Josh Hutcherson wasn’t even alive in the ’80s, but the mullet fit as he lip-synched The Outfield’s 1985 chart-topper “Your Love” in one of Saturday Night Live‘s better, and least explainable, sketches. (He did go ’90s retro in his 2012 indie Detention.) Elsewhere in the night Hutcherson’s highlights included a Hunger Games-themed monologue as well as him playing the straight man to Beck Bennett’s office boss-in-a-baby-body and his brief turn as a special correspondent in Mike O’Brien’s Bugs skit. Maybe a Horrible Bosses sequel is in this kid’s future – or Anchorman 3? Weigh in on the clips below.
Saturday Night Live with host and musical guest Lady Gaga last night averaged a 4.9/12 in the metered market households, matching the season high result of the last original hosted by Kerry Washington with musical guest Eminem. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, last night’s SNL logged a 2.6/12 in adults 18-49, also even with the Washington-Eminem episode and off a tenth this season’s high posted by the season premiere hosted by Tina Fey and the Miley Cyrus episode. Here are two more highlights from last night’s show: a Kim Kardashian-Kanye West morning show and a skit featuring Gaga as an overzealous stage mother.