'SNL' Tidbits for January 30, 1999

By Sean Bradley

'MAD TV' Headed for Cancellation?

The industry fax TV Business Confidential reported Monday that at the Fox network affiliates meeting, held over the weekend in New Orleans, "discussion was presented and consideration made to replacing 'MAD TV' on Saturday nights with professional wrestling." The newsletter cautioned that the discussion "may have been a trial balloon."

Sports Extra Tonight

"Saturday Night Live" has scheduled its annual "Sports Extra" special for tonight (NBC, 11:30 pm/ET), featuring appearances by athletes Michael Jordan, Kerri Strug, and George Foreman and such classic sports-related skits as the synchronized-swimming piece with Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Martin Short.

Sandler Isn't Murray's Cup of Tea

Bill Murray admires David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, but fellow "SNL" alum Adam Sandler doesn't make him laugh.

"I would enjoy driving in L.A. with the windows open more than I would enjoy watching 'The Waterboy,'" Murray told the New York Times.

Murray isn't the first "SNL" alum who has publicly admitted to not finding Sandler particularly amusing.

"The younger audience loves Adam Sandler," the late-Phil Hartman told Entertainment Weekly in a 1994 interview. "He appeals less to the intellect and more to that stand-up sensibility of 'Let's go out there and be insane.' I like Adam Sandler but that's not my kind of comedy."

Short Returns to TV

"The Martin Short Show," an upcoming talk show hosted by the former "SNL" star, will launch in the fall with approximately 60% of the country cleared. Top markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia are not being included yet, but King World claims discussions with stations in the top markets are ongoing.

Short is likely crossing his fingers that he fares better than the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Stephanie Miller, Pat Sajak, Sinbad, Chris Spencer, Jon Stewart, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and former "SNLers" Chevy Chase and Dennis Miller, all of whom have had high-profile talk show flops.

'SNL' Cheered Again!

The January 30 issue of "TV Guide" cheered "SNL" in their "Cheers and Jeers" section for the second time in a month. Here's what they had to say:

"Cheers to maintaining one's sense of humor. In 'Saturday Night Live's' parodies of 'The View,' a variety of actresses have done devastating impersonations of Debbie Matenopoulos. Who should turn up in a recent sketch (January 9) but Matenopoulos herself, just days after she had been dismissed by the ABC coffee klatch. In the spoof, after being fired on-air, Matenopoulos delivered a feisty farewell speech, citing Falstaff, Willy Loman and Louis XIV. Then she turned and took a pratfall on her way out the door. It was a gutsy way to go into exile. Brava, Debbie! (But we still think Claire Danes does a better Matenopoulos than you do.)"

'SNL' Competitor Stern Shocks at NATPE

Shock jock Howard Stern lived up to his reputation Wednesday at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) convention in New Orleans, talking pot shots at such high-ranking CBS officials as 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt and network boss Mel Karmazin, and making claims to his spot in broadcasting history.

"I revolutionized this industry," said Stern. "Every time Ricki Lake says the word penis on the air, you have me to thank. There's a loosening up [of broadcast standards], and I seriously think our show had something to do with it...I believe I'm a great broadcaster."

"The Howard Stern Show Radio Show" airs on CBS on Saturdays.

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