'SNL' Tidbits for July 18, 2001

By Sean Bradley

Ferrell to Return in Fall

Emmy nominated Will Ferrell, who won an American Comedy Award for his performance on "Saturday Night Live" last season, will be back for the show's 27th season this fall. It will be Ferrell's seventh year with the program.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal was closed Friday, May 11, before "SNL" even wrapped its 26th season. The show's executive producer, Lorne Michaels, confirmed the deal.

Ferrell will be seen in the upcoming film's "Zoolander" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

Rudolph Always Dreamed of 'SNL'

For Maya Rudolph, dreams do come true.

"I used to tell my dad, 'I really want to be on "SNL" when I grow up,'" Rudolph told the July issue of Rosie magazine. When she was lucky enough to land an interview with executive producer Lorne Michaels in spring 2001, she said, "I tried to be really cool. I was worried he wouldn't take me seriously if I was a goofball."

Since joining the cast last year, the 28-year-old comedian-singer, daughter of the late Minnie Riperton, has shared the stage with Jennifer Lopez and Lenny Kravitz.

"My mom was black and my dad is Jewish, and I lost my mom when I was 7. That made me feel really different from other kids."

Now Rudolph is coming into her own. "Even if I don't get a line one week, hey, I'm on 'SNL!'"

15 Million Tune in for Fallon on MTV

Last month's "MTV Movie Awards," in which "SNL" cast member Jimmy Fallon took on co-hosting duties with Kirsten Dunst, was a success for the music network with over 15 million viewers tuning in.

It was the ten-year-old award show's most watched broadcast ever among viewers aged 12-34 (6.9 rating), representing a 35 percent increase over last year and winning the time period in that demographic.

In households, the show pulled a 5.6 rating, which represents a 12 percent increase from 2000's numbers.

WB Cuts Ferrell 'Toon

According to Angus Oblong, creator of "The Oblongs," the WB animated series has been officially canceled.

The fate of the series, which features the voices of Will Ferrell and former "SNLer" Julia Sweeney, had previously been up in the air at the time of the WB's fall schedule announcement.

In a post to the Official "Oblongs" Fan Club, Oblong says the show still has five unaired episodes that have been completed and efforts are being made to get the series picked up by another network.

Sanz Goes on Gay Cruise

"SNL" cast member Horatio Sanz will co-star in the indie comedy "Boat Trip," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sanz and Cuba Gooding Jr. will play two straight men who go on a cruise to meet women, only to learn it's a gay cruise. Roger Moore, Vivica A. Fox, Roselyn Sanchez, Lin Shaye, and former Playboy Playmate of the Year Victoria Silvstedt will also star.

Sanz's previous film credits include small parts in 1994's "Miracle on 34th Street" and last year's hit comedy "Road Trip." He co-starred earlier this year in the film "Tomcats."

Oteri Sitcom a No-Go for Fall

Bad news for those who have been holding their breath waiting for Cheri Oteri's fall sitcom on CBS: you won't be seeing it (at least not in the fall).

The CBS comedy pilot "Loomis," which finds Oteri as a small-town celebrity, was missing in action when the Tiffany network unveiled its fall schedule to advertisers two months back. But before you get your panties in a bunch, take a moment to simmah'.

CBS president Leslie Moonves tells TV Guide Online that the project "is still in contention for midseason." Oteri can rest easy either way -- her contract guarantees her a 13-episode payday even if the series never makes it to air.

Silverman's Racial Slur

Sarah Silverman is in hot water. According to the Associated Press, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans called for an apology from the former "SNL" featured player for using the term "chinks" during a taping of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on July 11.

In a conversation with O'Brien, Silverman spoke of being appointed to jury duty. "My friend is like, why don't you write something inappropriate on the form, like 'I hate chinks,'" Silverman said. But she didn't want people to think she was racist, she said, so "I just filled out the form and I wrote 'I love chinks' - and who doesn't?"

Media Action Network for Asian Americans president Guy Aoki said, "There is no excuse for something like this to have made the air. The term is the most offensive possible reference to a person of Chinese descent."

Hall Morphs onto UPN

Former "SNL" cast member Anthony Michael Hall will star in "Stephen King's The Dead Zone," a UPN series based on the horror writer's novel and 1983 Christopher Walken movie about a man who wakens from a coma with the ability to see people's futures after touching them.

Hall tells the Chicago Tribune that producer Michael Piller's vision of the series includes incorporating his character, Johnny Smith, as a psychic form into any future crisis. "It's exciting, because you're talking about being able to morph entire environments and scenes and settings," says Hall.

The series is being looked at as a potential midseason replacement.

Billy Done Hosting Oscars?

For former "SNL" star Billy Crystal, the thrill of hosting the "Oscars" is gone. After seven outings as the emcee of Hollywood's biggest night, Crystal says the gig isn't nearly as satisfying as it used to be.

"I love and appreciate that the audiences want to see me out there, I really do, but I can't do it every year," he tells the New York Post. "I really like the years off, and the more I like them, the less likely I am to do it again. I don't have anything to prove to myself about it any more."

Crystal's involvement with the comedy "America's Sweethearts" earlier this year left him no time for the ceremony, which usually takes three months of preparation. "I just didn't have it this year," Crystal says. "I've given it up before. I can't do it every year. I'd go out of my mind. I thought Steve [Martin] did a really great job."

But there's always a chance Billy will be back. "If I feel like it and they still want me, I guess I would do it at some point, but it's not the thing that I just have to do every year."

Murray Opens Caddyshack Eatery

Former "SNL" star Bill Murray and his five brothers officially opened their own restaurant at the World of Gold Village on Thursday, June 7, according to the AP.

The theme restaurant, named after Murray's 1980 comedy classic "Caddyshack," is the first of three planned by the brothers. It is described as a "country club gone awry."

On Saturday, June 9, Murray hosted a party for friends, celebrities, and celebrity friends to celebrate the Caddyshack barbecue restaurant's opening. Former "SNL" alum Tim Meadows was among those in attendance.

The Murray brothers are also filming a new Comedy Central show called "The Sweet Spot," scheduled to air in January. Throughout the show the brothers, all avid golfers, travel to different golf courses across the country.

Former 'SNL' Producer Signs with USA

Former "SNL writer-producer Steve Koren has signed a multiyear development deal with Studios USA. The seven-figure paycheck allows Koren to create, write, and produce comedy series programming for the studio.

"Steve Koren is one of those rare comedy writers who can do it all," Studios USA comedy programming senior VP Marcy Ross tells Variety. "He can be wonderfully broad and silly in one script and then surprise you with a subtle dry wit in his next script. We look forward to a long and prosperous association with him."

Koren was a writer and producer on "SNL" from 1992 until 1996. He wrote and co-produced the "SNL"-spinoff features "Superstar" and "A Night at the Roxbury."

'SNL' Competitor Goes into Syndication

Can't get enough of sub par sketch comedy? Then you're in luck! TNN has purchased the cable TV rights to rerun Fox's "Mad TV" starting this fall.

According to Variety, TNN's deal with the show's distributor is nonexclusive, so TNN could end up sharing the daily repeats with as many as 80 TV stations across the country. Fox recently renewed "Mad TV" for another two seasons, so the fresh episodes will continue to run every Saturday night at 11 p.m.

Barbara Zaneri, TNN's senior VP of programming and acquisitions, tells Variety that the cable channel wanted "Mad" because "our wrestling audience is very partial to sketch comedies, and 59% of the audience for 'Mad TV' is 18 to 49, which is unusually high."

'SNLers' on the Tube

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

"Late Show with David Letterman," CBS
* Fri 7/20 - former cast member Billy Crystal

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC
* Fri 7/20 - cast member Darrell Hammond

"Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC
* Thu 7/19 - former cast member Billy Crystal

"Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," ABC
* Tue 7/17 - former cast member Jon Lovitz (R)

"The Rosie O'Donnell Show," syndicated
* Thu 7/19 - cast member Darrell Hammond (R)

"Primetime Glick," Comedy Central
* Wed 7/18 - former cast member Molly Shannon

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