'SNL' Tidbits for February 8, 2000

By Sean Bradley

Pardo or Parnell?

That wasn't Don Pardo announcing the cast members' names during the theme song on "SNL" over the weekend. Instead, a source at the show says it was cast member Chris Parnell doing a Don Pardo impression. No word on why Pardo, who turns 82 on February 22, wasn't present -- but the 24-year "SNL" veteran sounded near death during an episode hosted by Freddie Prinze Jr. last month.

This isn't the first time an impressionist has kept the announcer's booth warm. In January 1998, Darrell Hammond pulled off a passable Pardo impression when the real deal couldn't show up for work.

Apple, Spears, 'Sync to do 'SNL' reports that Fiona Apple will serve as the musical guest on February 19, with host Ben Afflek. Apple's latest album, "When the Pawn," is now available in stores. She previously appeared on "SNL" as a musical guest in November 1996.

In other musical guest news, an "SNL" insider tells me Britney Spears and N'Sync, both of whom have new albums coming out this spring, have been booked on "SNL" later in the season. No dates have been given and hosts have not been announed, but it marks the debut for both on the show.

'SNL's High Costs

NBC is having a tough time selling "SNL" in the international market, a recent report reveals. It isn't that the show's humor doesn't translate to foreign markets, particularly English-speaking countries. It's just hard to find buyers that are willing to pay the astronomical fees NBC has to charge them to air the program.

"The thing about 'Saturday Night Live' is, it's a very expensive show to distribute," Jerry Petry, executive vice president of NBC Enterprises, explained, "because the residuals (paid to the show's stars) are very high, and particularly the music clearance costs are extremely high. So we're always very careful to make sure that as we sell these shows, we're able to cover the very significant costs."

Even if you edit the musical guests out of the syndication package, "What happens is, if you watch our show, there's a lot of music that's part of sketches ... that you can't strip out," Petry said. "Then you have to go out and clear that music for cable, or broadcast, or international distribution."

Joe Honored to do 'SNL'

Rapper Fat Joe spoke with MTV News last Thursday and seemed excited about joining Jennifer Lopez on "SNL" over the weekend.

"We honored, it's very big," Joe said of his then-upcoming visit to the show. "Not too many rappers get to do that type of thing, so we're just honored to be there. We just gonna put on a beautiful performance. Her single that she's got out now, 'Feels So Good,' is with me and [fellow rapper Big] Pun, and its doing very well. It's like a smash hit, and we're just proud to be a part of her whole project. We love Jennifer."

Madonna Visits Lopez On 'SNL' Set

Madonna was in New York City on Thursday to promote her new film, "The Next Best Thing," and she took the opportunity to drop by the set of "Saturday Night Live" and visit with Jennifer Lopez, who served as the musical guest on "SNL" over the weekend.

According to "The New York Post," Madonna met with Lopez after she finished taping an appearance on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," which is filmed in a Manhattan sound studio located next door to the "SNL" studio on the 8th floor of Rockefeller Center.

Crystal a Winner for 'SNL' Anniversary Cameo

Billy Crystal picked up an award at the 14th Annual American Comedy Awards on Sunday for his performance at the "SNL: 25th Anniversary" special.

In the category of Funniest Male Performer in a Television Special, Crystal beat out David Hyde Pierce ("The 51st Emmy Awards"), Chris Rock ("Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker"), and Bill Murray ("SNL: 25th Anniversary").

Former "SNLer" Mike Myers also picked up a statue for "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me."

Breuer Back On NBC

"SNL" alumnus Jim Breuer, fired from the show in summer 1998, will star in the new NBC comedy pilot "Those Who Can't," about the life of a substitute elementary school teacher.

According to the "Hollywood Reporter," Breuer has been in demand for sitcom work since his "SNL" departure -- almost getting "The Jim Breuer Show" off the ground with Fox last year. In "Those Who Can't," Breuer will portray Vince Pressler, who decides to sign up for substitute teaching duty rather than join the family construction business.

"Those Who Can't" was created for the Warren Littlefield Co. and NBC Studios by Steve Franks, who wrote the film "Big Daddy" for fellow "SNL" alum Adam Sandler.

A&E Acquires Hartman/Lovitz Sitcom

Cable's A&E has acquired off-network rights to all 97 episodes of the ex-NBC sitcom "NewsRadio."

The sitcom featured former "SNL" star Phil Hartman from its spring 1995 debut through his murder in May 1998, at which time friend and fellow "SNL" alum Jon Lovitz joined the cast for its final season.

The critically aclaimed but low-rated laugher, which is currently in syndication, is expected to premiere during A&E's daytime line-up this fall.

Aykroyd & Other 'SNLers' Star in Film

"SNL" alumnus Dan Aykroyd has agreed to star in "Hitting the Wall," which marks the directorial debut of Emmy-winning "Saturday Night Live" writer Tom Davis, according to "Hollywood Reporter."

Other past and present "SNL" cast members are expected to fill feature roles in the film about a man trying to cope with midlife crisis.

McKinney Picks Up a Genie

Mark McKinney, a former "SNL" cast member and member of the comedy troupe "Kids in the Hall," won a Genie Award (the award honoring excellence in Canadian motion pictures) for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role" for the film "Dog Park."

"Dog Park" was writen and directed by another former "SNL" contributer and "KITH" member, Bruce McCulloch.

'Get a' DVD

Former "SNL" cast member Chris Elliot's short-lived Fox sitcom, "Get a Life," is coming to DVD -- four episodes of it, that is. The DVD is scheduled for release through Rhino on March 21. The DVD features a never-before-broadcast episode, as well as the ability to turn the laugh track off, where you can clearly hear the cast and crew chuckling off-screen.

Gigolo's Next Gig

Former "SNL" cast member Rob Schneider will show off his animal instincts in his next motion picture, a Disney movie titled "Animal."

According to the "Hollywood Reporter," Schneider will play a man who receives organ transplants from various animals and finds himself taking on their characteristics. Schneider is one of the writers of the project, and pal Adam Sandler is an executive producer.

Schneider's last flick, "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," grossed a surprisingly strong $60 million at the box-office.

Rock Lands Role

Former "SNLer" Chris Rock will star opposite Regina King in Paramount Pictures' "I Was Made to Love Her."

According to "Variety," Rock will star as a struggling Brooklyn comic who dies and is returned to Earth in the body of a rich white man whose wife and lover are plotting to kill him. The Alphaville-produced project is slated to begin shooting on location February 17.

Previous Rock features include supporting roles in "Dogma," "Lethal Weapon 4," and "Beverly Hills Ninja." In 1993 -- during his "SNL" tenure -- he wrote, produced, and starred in "CB4."

From 'SNL' to ' Mad' to 'Hype!'

The WB is planning to shoot a pilot called "Hype!," a primetime sketch comedy show.

The frog network has called on three writer/producers from Fox's "Mad TV" to create "Hype!," according to "Variety." Among those from "Mad" who will be working on the new project include Terry Sweeney, who was an "SNL" cast member during the 1985-86 season.

Murphy May Star in 'Shrinking' Remake

According to the "Hollywood Reporter," former "SNL" cast member Eddie Murphy may star in a remake of "The Incredible Shrinking Man."

Ex-"SNL" featured player Fred Wolf, who wrote the Norm Macdonald-vehicle "Dirty Work" and both of the Chris Farley/David Spade buddy comedies, is currently drafting a script for Imagine and Universal Pictures.

Shaffer Filling in For Dave

Former "SNL" featured player Paul Shaffer, who has served as David Letterman's musical director for the past 18 years, is coming to the aid of his ailing boss. (Letterman underwent quintuple bypass surgery last month).

Shaffer, Regis Philbin, and Charles Grodin will alternate as "guest interviewers" on "Late Show with David Letterman" beginning yesterday. The three interviewers will take turns taping interviews with frequent "Late Show" guests in which the guest will talk about their experiences on the show and with Dave -- and clips will, of course, be shown.

Shaffer will take the interviewer microphone on Wednesday to chat with Bruce Willis and fitness guru Richard Simmons in Los Angeles. Shaffer will be back on Friday with Steve Martin and either Billy Crystal or Bill Murray -- two "Late Show" favorites and both "SNL" alumni.

'SNLers' on the Tube

Here are appearances "SNL" alumni will be making on talk shows this week:

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC
* Tue 2/8: former cast member Martin Short

"Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," CBS
* Tue 2/8: former featured player Paul Shaffer

"Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC
* Mon 2/7: former cast member Randy Quaid (Rerun 11/5/99)
* Tue 2/8: cast member Jimmy Fallon
* Fri 2/11: former cast member Julia Sweeney

"Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," ABC
* Fri 2/11: former cast member Gilbert Gottfried

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