'SNL' Tidbits for January 11, 2001

by Sean Bradley

Upcoming 'SNL' Guests Set

21-year-old actress Mena Suvari will host the January 20 episode of "Saturday Night Live," with musical guest Lenny Kravitz.

Suvari is probably best known as choir girl Heather in the teen comedy "American Pie," or flirtatious friend Angela in the Oscar-winning "American Beauty." She last appeared in theaters with a starring role in the Amy Heckerling comedy "Loser." Her next film, "Sugar & Spice," hits the big screen on January 26.

Suvari has never before appeared on "SNL." Kravitz was previously musical guest on April 17, 1993.

Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez will return to the show February 10, possibly as host and musical guest.

'SNLers' Get Noms at TV Guide Awards

First-round nominees for the third annual "TV Guide Awards" have been announced. The winners will be determined via ballots published in the January 6 and January 13 issues of TV Guide magazine.

In the "Breakout Star of the Year" category, Jimmy Fallon has been nominated, as have Will Ferrell & Darrell Hammond (for their Bush & Gore impressions). The "SNL" cast members are up against Jessica Alba ("Dark Angel"), Tom Cavanagh ("Ed"), Johnny Knoxville ("Jackass"), Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Erik Per Sullivan ("Malcolm in the Middle"), and Shane West ("Once and Again"). Additionaly, "SNL's" 25th Anniversary Special and Presidential Bash have been nominated in the "Comedy Special of the Year" category.

The event will take center stage at the Shrine Expo Center in Los Angeles on February 24, 2001 and will air on March 7, 2001 on FOX.

Ferrell Not Staying for Bush?

Will Ferrell isn't sure if he'll be sticking around for the entire George W. Bush administration -- four more seasons would make him the longest-standing "SNL" cast member ever.

"I don't want to be the guy who's been graduated from high school for two years and is still hangin' out in the parking lot looking for girls," Ferrell tells The Dallas Morning news. "It's an interesting show to be a part of. Some people leave too early, some people stay too long. At a certain point, you kind of have to graduate."

Ferrell says he's been studying Bush's mannerisms when he has the chance, but basically views the incoming leader of the free world as "just a character I play on the show."

9.8 Million Tune in for Liu

"Saturday Night Live's" last live show of the year 2000 posted some of its highest numbers of the season, with host Lucy Liu and musical guest Jay-Z.

"SNL" averaged a 4.7/21 in adults 18-34, a 5.0/19 in adults 18-49, a 5.0/18 in adults 25-54, and 9.8 million viewers overall. Compared to its last live show in 1999, "SNL" was up 24 percent in adults 18-34, 25 percent in adults 18-49, 28 percent in adults 25-54, and 28 percent in total viewers.

Molly Gets $2 Million

Molly Shannon will follow up her role in "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" with a starring role in a new romantic comedy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The untitled film, which will pay Shannon $2 million, casts her as a therapist who falls in love with an artist who is engaged, and must try to convince her patient he's in the wrong relationship. In addition to "Grinch," Shannon's film credits include the "SNL" spin-offs "Superstar" and "A Night at the Roxbury."

Ferrell, Morgan 'Strike Back'

Will Ferrell and Tracy Morgan are among the stars of writer/director Kevin Smith's next film, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

The plot of the Dimension Films project remains shrouded in secrecy, though producers referred to the film as the final installment of Smith's so-called New Jersey chronicles, which includes "Clerks," "Mallrats," and "Chasing Amy." Shannon Elizabeth, Judd Nelson, George Carlin, Jason Biggs, Jason Lee, and Jason Mewes are among those also appearing. Filming is slated to begin this month with an August 10 release date.

"In the tradition of 'A Mad, Mad World,' we've worked with Kevin to put together an ensemble of the finest comedic actors,'' said Dimension co-chairman Bob Weinstein. "This will be one of the biggest event comedies of the summer.''

Meadows Out of Work

NBC has pulled the plug on "The Michael Richards Show," a sitcom which marked Richards' return to weekly television and co-starred former "SNLer" Tim Meadows.

A big factor in the network's decision to dump "Richards" was not only the low ratings and negative reviews, but the show's unusually high production cost. Insiders peg its weekly license fee at nearly $1.2 million, virtually unheard of for a new comedy.

Don't get too worried though: Meadows has an overall deal with NBC and could surface in another network project as soon as fall 2001.

Spade Zapped by Friend

Former "SNLer" David Spade was attacked November 29 in his home by his longtime personal assistant, David Malloy.

Malloy was arrested after assaulting Spade with a stun gun while trying to rob his Beverly Hills home. He was charged with burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.

"David Malloy was a good friend of mine for five years," Spade said in a statement. "I believe he is a good person who is obviously mentally troubled right now. I can only hope that he seeks the help he needs to get well. My heart goes out to him."

Paramedics treated Spade at the scene, and he refused hospital care, returning to work on the set of NBC's "Just Shoot Me" the next morning. Malloy was taken to a hospital for undisclosed reasons and may have been suicidal, according to television reports.

Myers Likes 'Pink'

Mike Myers is in negotiations to star as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in MGM's remake of "The Pink Panther," which Ivan Reitman is in talks to direct. The former "SNL" star is also likely to be involved in the writing of the project.

Canadian-born Myers has long been a fan of Peter Sellers, who as the inspector made famous the original film franchise that started in 1963. "The Pink Panther" followed the adventures of the bumbling inspector obsessed in his quest to capture a notorious jewel thief known as the Phantom. What the inspector doesn't realize is that his own wife is having an affair with the thief.

Rock Signs to 'Sheep'

Former "SNL" cast member Chris Rock is in negotiations to star in Disney's "Black Sheep" for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. No word on whether or not the folks at Disney are aware that two other "SNLers" already made a movie called "Black Sheep."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this "Sheep" is about a streetwise black man (Rock) whose identical twin brother, a Harvard-educated secret agent, is killed by the enemy. Rock's character is called in by the CIA to finish his brother's job.

In November, Rock wrapped a four-year run of "The Chris Rock Show," his Emmy-winning late-night talk show for HBO. He next stars in Paramount Pictures' "Down on Earth" and voices the title role in Warner Bros.' "Osmosis Jones."

Stiller Gets 'Dangerous'

"Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," a quirky movie based on the comic memoir of "Gong Show" host Chuck Barris, has been gonged by Mike Myers, who has passed on the picture due to his busy schedule.

According to Variety, former "SNL" featured player Ben Stiller has emerged as a possible participant to replace Myers and play the game show host whose activities are a cover for his work as a CIA assassin.

Stiller is incredibly busy. He's directing and starring in "Zoolander," and will star for Wes Anderson in the Disney ensemble comedy "The Royal Tenenbaums." He's also expected to take part in a sequel to his fall hit, "Meet the Parents," currently being written.

Murphy to remake 'I Spy'?

Former "SNL" star Eddie Murphy is in talks to reunite with "Dr. Dolittle" director Betty Thomas on a big screen adaptation of the 1960s NBC series "I Spy."

The movie version, according to The Hollywood Reporter, will cast Murphy as an athlete drafted to help a government agency recover a missing jet.

The original series starred Bill Cosby and Robert Culp as secret agents who traveled the world undercover as a professional tennis player and his trainer.

Finally Ready for Primetime

Chevy Chase, one of "SNL's" original "Not Ready for Primetime Players" in 1975, has teamed with two producers from "Murphy Brown" to develop a comedy in the vein of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Artists Television Group is currently shopping the project to the networks. Chase has never before appeared on a weekly primetime series. He did give late-night talk shows a chance with Fox's much-hyped "The Chevy Chase Show," which stayed on the air for less than two months in fall 1993.

Ex-Writer Headed to Aspen

Former "SNL" staff writer Ali Farahnakian, who departed from the show in 1999, has been chosen to perform at the Aspen Comedy Festival in late February.

His show "Word of Mouth" can currently be seen at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. Prior to "SNL," Farahnakian performed at Second City.

'SNL' Record-Holder Headed to Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last month that Steve Martin will host this year's Academy Awards. He has served as a presenter on six shows and introduced a best-picture clip on the 1997 show.

Martin's rise to fame in the 1970's was fueled by frequent guest host-spots on "SNL." To this day he holds the record for most times hosting, with 13 under his belt -- the most recent of which was in 1994. He has never been nominated for an Oscar.

Producer Gill Cates, who has produced the Academy Awards for television, says Martin has "everything." He's "a movie star; he's funny; he's classy; he's literate." The Oscars will be telecast live March 25 on ABC from the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. Nominees will be announced February 13.

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