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Posts tagged as Lorne Michaels

Adam McKay Responds to Jim Breuer Saying He Got Him Fired from 'SNL'

Former SNL cast member Jim Breuer went on WTF with Marc Maron last month and claimed he heard from an NBC executive that Adam McKay, who was head writer for the show at the time, "fought adamantly" to have him fired. On this week's improv4humans, McKay told his side of the story to host Matt Besser:

The network made Lorne hire Jim Breuer when we came on. It was when the show's ratings were getting kind of low. So Jim then comes on the show, and Jim's a great guy. I had no problem with Jim whatsoever. Completely cool guy, wrote sketches, [I] put him in sketches. [...]

Let's Talk About SNL's Diversity Problem

Kenan Thompson has been taking a lot of heat this week for a comment he made in a TV Guide interview about SNL's lack of a black female cast member, despite the recent hiring of six white performers. Following Jay Pharoah's rather blunt remark to theGrio that "They need to pay attention" and cast a black woman like Darmirra Brunson, Thompson had a more ambiguous response:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of [...]

'SNL' Review: Tina Fey Introduces The New Cast

For a show that evolves constantly, SNL does a remarkable job preserving its brand. Despite the changes in the cast, the writers, and the culture it parodies, SNL will always be that live, hip, New York-centered show that puts up a few sketches at the end of the week to try to make you laugh. There's the "Live from New York…" throw line, the theme music, Don Pardo listing off the cast, the host walking out on stage, followed by that predictable pattern of live sketches, videos, musical performances, and the news segment. Critics put down this structure in favor of looser, more inventive sketch show formats, but given SNL's [...]

Jim Gaffigan and Kate Walsh Join Lorne Michaels's New Comedy 'Staten Island Summer'

Lorne Michaels is rounding out the cast for a new movie he's producing, called Staten Island Summer. Jim Gaffigan and Kate Walsh are the latest to sign on to the project, THR reports. The film follows best friends Danny (Graham Phillips, The Good Wife) and Frank (Zack Pearlman, The Inbetweeners) as poolside lifeguards the summer after high school graduation, with the former about to attend Harvard and the latter unsure of where to go in his life. Gaffigan and Walsh are playing Danny's parents. Staten Island Summer is being directed by Rhys Thomas, a longtime producer/director of SNL shorts and video segments who recently helmed Bill Hader's Stefon farewell, and the script [...]

FX Orders a Pilot Created by 'SNL's Simon Rich, Produced by Lorne Michaels

Former SNL writer Simon Rich has sold a half-hour comedy pilot to FX, with Lorne Michaels attached to produce via his company Broadway Video, Deadline reports. The pilot is called Man Seeking Women, and it's based on Rich's book, The Last Girlfriend on Earth. Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia) will be directing the pilot, which is described as a sweet, surreal look at dating in New York City. Rich, a former Harvard Lampoon editor, became one of the youngest-ever writers for Saturday Night Live when he was hired at age 23 in 2007. He spent four seasons there before transitioning into a writing job at Pixar. The Last Girlfriend [...]

NBC Orders a Pilot for Maya Rudolph's Variety Show; Will Air as a Primetime Special

Maya Rudolph is coming back to NBC. Deadline reports that the network has ordered a pilot for an untitled variety show starring Rudolph and produced by Lorne Michaels, who worked with her on SNL and Up All Night. NBC will air the pilot in February as a primetime special following the Winter Olympics. Presumably, the network will order the pilot to series if the special does well. With Rudolph and Michaels working on this, the show should have no trouble landing well-known guests from both the music and comedy worlds.

After Up All Night was canceled last February, Maya Rudolph turned down five sitcom pilot offers and [...]

Watch an Interview with Lorne Michaels and the 'SNL' Cast from Before the Show Premiered in 1975

Here's a recently-unearthed video of a short interview Lorne Michaels and the entire Saturday Night Live cast did with Tom Snyder on his NBC talk show Tomorrow just prior to the show's premiere in 1975. It's worth sitting through the monologue about 30 Rock's air conditioning that Snyder interrupts the interview for just to see the whole gang all together and looking so young and unaware of all the amazing success they were all about to have.

(via Laughing Squid)

What to Look Forward to in 'SNL' Season 39

Season 39 of SNL kicks off this Saturday night with Tina Fey, Arcade Fire, and a mouthful of new names for Don Pardo to read off in the opening credits. After several seasons of little turnover, the cast is experiencing a major upheaval, with six — six! — new cast members to replace the departed Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Armisen. This is the largest staff hire in 18 years, tying the 1995-1996 season's addition of Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, David Koechner, Cheri Oteri, and Nancy Walls. After the show's dismal 1994-1995 season, which saw near cancellation and the firing/resignation of 12 cast members, those six were [...]

A Bunch of 'SNL' Cast Members Share Their Audition Stories with 'The New York Times'

David Itzkoff of The New York Times has an excellent new piece out today called "The God of SNL Will See You Now," in which 22 past and present SNL cast members, including Will Ferrell, Chevy Chase, and Kristen Wiig all tell their nerve-wracking audition stories. From waiting for hours in Lorne Michaels's office (Fallon: "I was sitting there with Lorne’s assistant for three hours, and I’m like, 'Whenever he’s ready, I’m here.' And she’s like, 'You know, Chris Farley waited for eight hours.'") to auditioning in 30 Rock to zero laughs (Ferrell: "There’s a point where I’m rolling around on the ground, in complete silence, playing with cat [...]

HBO Orders a Pilot from Lorne Michaels and 'Jimmy Fallon' Writers

Lorne Michaels is looking to expand his TV empire even further. Deadline reports that HBO has ordered a pilot for a half-hour comedy executive produced by Michaels that will be written by and star Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writer/performers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. The untitled pilot will star Riddle and Salahuddin as two 30-year-old reporters trying to make it in Atlanta. Fallon viewers may know Salahuddin for playing the character Milky Jay on the show. The duo also created the popular segment "Slow Jam the News." This is Lorne Michaels's second HBO pilot in development right now, joining People in New Jersey, from Girls writer Bruce Eric [...]

Lorne Michaels Responds to the 'SNL' Diversity Issue

Saturday Night Live has been taking some heat in the press for its lack of diversity after adding six new cast members, all of them white and five of them male, this fall. In the wake of a controversial quote from longtime cast member Kenan Thompson two weeks ago about how the show never finds black female comedians who are "ready," SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels has finally weighed in on the matter. When asked about the show not having any black female cast members by The AP, Michaels responded, "It's not like it's not a priority for us. It will happen. I'm sure it will happen." While [...]

Sarah Silverman Will Star in Lorne Michaels's HBO Pilot

Sarah Silverman is going to HBO. She's set to star alongside Topher Grace and Patti LuPone in People in New Jersey, a Lorne Michaels-produced comedy pilot for the pay cable network, TV Line reports. Freaks and Geeks creator and Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is directing the pilot and producing it with Michaels. Girls and Six Feet Under writer Bruce Eric Kaplan created the potential series.

People in New Jersey follows an adult brother and sister (Grace and Silverman) living in the Garden State. Grace is playing a single locksmith named Carl Levin, while Silverman will play Melanie Levin, a woman working part-time in a department store who is in [...]

Cecily Strong Will Join Seth Meyers at the 'Weekend Update' Desk

After much speculation, Lorne Michaels told the New York Times yesterday that 2nd year cast member Cecily Strong will co-anchor Weekend Update with Seth Meyers when the show returns for its 39th season on Sept. 28. Strong became a favorite on Weekend Update last year with her character, The Girl You Wished You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. Meyers is due to take over the Late Night franchise from Jimmy Fallon in February, but Michaels said that might not be the end of him on SNL.

Mr. Michaels said his general plan was to have Ms. Strong share the “Update” desk with Mr. Meyers for the season’s [...]

'SNL' Co-Head Writer Colin Jost to Write and Act in Lorne Michaels-Produced Comedy 'Staten Island Summer'

Lorne Michaels is producing a new movie scripted by Colin Jost, who's been writing for SNL since 2005 and serving as co-head writer with Seth Meyers since the start of last season. Deadline reports that it's called Staten Island Summer, following two poolside lifeguards who just graduated from high school: one named Danny who's off to Harvard in the fall, and another named Frank who's unsure of what to do with his life. Jost was born and raised in Staten Island, where the movie is set.

The movie will be directed by Rhys Thomas, a longtime producer/director of SNL shorts and video segments who recently helmed Bill [...]