'SNL' Tidbits for March 12, 2000

By Sean Bradley

Walken Runnin' Back to 'SNL'

Christopher Walken will return for his fourth time as "SNL" host on April 8, according to a source at the show. Walken, who got big laughs with an appearance at "SNL's" 25th Anniversary in September, last hosted the show January 13, 1996.

Christina Aguilera will serve as the evening's musical guest, making her debut on the show.

'SNL' Toys Among Hottest of 2000

The annual New York International Toy Fair, featuring all the big 2000 toy releases from all the major toy companies, was held last month and "ToyFare" magazine was there.

In the March edition of "ToyFare," the editors have selected the hottest 25 toys from the five day event, and the line of "Saturday Night Live" action figures from X-Toys have made the list (at number 15).

Nat X, Mary Katherine Gallagher, Samurai Baker, and Goat Boy are due out in the first assortment in June, and, "they all have neat action movements!", according to "The Saturday Night Live figures look awesome!"

The second series of "SNL" toys, for later in the year, will include Roseanne Roseannadanna, "Coffee Talk" host Linda Richman, Hans and Franz, and Opera Man.

Where was Keyes?

On Thursday, the "Keyes2000 Campaign" issued a press release mentioning that Ambassador Alan Keyes would be appearing on "SNL" over the weekend. On Saturday morning, the "L.A. Times" reported that Keyes' campaign was negotiating with "SNL," but that Keyes had "final approval of the script."

March 11th's show came and went with no appearance by the conservative candidate. Did he change his mind about appearing on the sketch-comedy show? Nah.... A source at the show says to expect that appearance by Keyes on next weekend's show, with host The Rock and musical guest AC/DC.

Game Show Parodies vs. Game Show

Note to NBC: Don't put a compilation of game show parodies up against the most popular game show on television.

National Nielsen numbers are in for the week of February 28 to March 5, and of the 105 programs to air on the networks, the primetime special "SNL: Best of Game Show Parodies" ranked 73rd with a 5.1 Nielsen rating -- making it NBC's fourth lowest rated program of the week. Airing opposite the compilation on Tuesday, February 29 was ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," which had over 30 million viewers and was the second most watched show of the week (at number one was the Wednesday edition of "Millionaire").

Myers Makes $20 Million for 'Sprockets'

Mike Myers has finalized a long-talked about plan to bring his "Saturday Night Live" sketch "Sprockets" to the big-screen, "The Hollywood Reporter" reports.

Myers has signed a deal with Universal which will pay him $20 million to revive his "SNL" character Dieter, the black-turtlenecked host of "Sprockets" who shows disturrrbing avant-garde films. So instead of "Groovy Baby!" you'll spend an entire summer hearing "Would you like to pet my monkey?"

Macdonald Movie Moved 3 Months Ahead

Universal Pictures has bumped the release date for the Norm Macdonald comedy "Screwed" three months forward, from August 25 to May 12, reports "Variety."

"Screwed," which involves a chauffeur kidnapping a dog, may be able to take advantage of the lack of rival comedies during the early summer. The project, starring Macdonald, Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, and Danny DeVito, has previously been called "Ballbusted," "Pittsburgh," and "Foolproof."

Dunn Returning to TV

"SNL" alumna Nora Dunn has been cast as the lead in "Miriam Teitelbaum: Homicide" a USA Network one-hour pilot formerly known as "J.A.P.D." It revolves around a tough, middle-aged, Jewish, female homicide detective in Los Angeles, inspired by L.A. homicide detective Cheryl Lyons.

Dunn, an "SNL" cast member from 1985-90, has appeared in the recent features "Three Kings," "What Planet Are You From?" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous."

'Short' a Goner Shortly

Surprise, surprise.... Former "SNLer" Martin Short won't have to worry about the daily grind of a talk-show much longer. According to TV Barn, the low-rated "Martin Short Show" will be out of production within a month.

"New York Daily News" reported Friday that staff members have already been told that they will not be hired for a second season and that Short himself has begun wishing them well and apologizing for the show's failure. King World, which distributes the show, reportedly plans to continue to produce new episodes through mid-April. Repeats will air through the summer.

In the Nielsen ratings, Short's show was ranked 16th of the 17 syndicated daytime talks-shows which aired the week of February 21-26. Scoring a 0.8, the only show below "Short" was "Roseanne" (0.4).

Museum Honors Martin

Lorne Michaels, Chevy Chase, Al Franken, and many more were in attendance at the American Museum of the Moving Image's salute to Steve Martin at the Waldorf Astoria on March 3.

While Martin may have developed into a collector of fine art, an acclaimed playwright, and the author of fiction published in "The New Yorker," Chase reminded the VIP audience that, for all his later literary achievements, "a lot of people think Steve is just preternaturally a white-haired clown with a ukulele, a guy who lucked out by being thought of as a regular on 'Saturday Night Live' when he really wasn't." Martin has hosted the show more than anyone else (13 times).

Chase added that the "Wild and Crazy Guy" was actually "propped up by people like Marty Short or Eddie Murphy or me."

Past Writers Now Producers

Last week was a great one for former "SNL" writers....

Former "SNL" scribe Brian Kelley got the go-ahead last week from Fox, for a half-hour comedy pilot he will co-executive produce titled "Mather House."

On Tuesday, "Variety" reported that the WB network signed Greg Daniels -- an Emmy winner during his tenure as an "SNL" writer -- to create a new live-action sitcom for the 2000-01 season. Daniels is already a writer and executive producer of "King of the Hill."

Thursday, it was announced ex-"SNL" writer Christine Zander inked a two-year, mid-six-figure deal with the Carsey-Werner Co. which calls for her to develop new programming for Carsey-Werner and makes her among the executive producers on "3rd Rock From the Sun."

Norm Ouster Back in Football Biz

Former NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer, the utter boob who was responsible for Norm Macdonald being fired from "SNL's" "Weekend Update," is returning to his sports broadcasting roots.

Ohlmeyer has signed a two-year, seven-figure deal to serve as executive producer of ABC's "Monday Night Football" -- the pinhead was previously a "MNF" producer from 1972-77.

In an interview with "Daily Variety," the weasle said his job would be to make "MNF" a weekly big-ticket broadcast. Hopefully he knows more about football than comedy.

'SNLers' on the Tube

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

"The Rosie O'Donnell Show," syndicated
* Mon 3/13 - cast member Molly Shannon
* Fri 3/17 - former cast member Joan Cusack

"Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," CBS
* Mon 3/13 - former featured player Al Franken (Rerun 1/20/00)

"Larry Sanders Show," HBO Signature
* Mon 3/13 - former cast member Chris Farley (Rerun 9/29/93)

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