February 15, 2001


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It’s Sunday Morning Live!

Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live, wasn’t a very happy man last weekend. It’s hard to blame the guy, though. The February 10 edition of the late night comedy show, featuring Jennifer Lopez as both star and musical guest, was one of the most hyped of the season. But everything just went wrong.

NBC executives had expected SNL to pull in above-average viewership from its lead-in, an XFL football game. But unfortunately, the fledgling “extreme football league” only attracted half the viewers from its previous week’s debut. That thus transferred to lower viewers for SNL as well. In addition, a series of snafus at the XFL game (including a power outage and player injury) put the game over the 3 hour mark. This tapped into local news and ultimately pushed SNL‘s start time back until 12:15 a.m on the East Coast.

Michaels was described as “enraged” by NBC’s decision to delay SNL, and he almost considered canceling the live telecast and advising the network to air a rerun. He chose instead to begin the show in the studio on time, and so a tape-delayed version was broadcast after local news ended. By then, though, a good chunk of viewers had probably gone to bed.

Because of this week’s massive delay, NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol announced that future XFL games will begin five minutes early and the halftime will be shortened by five minutes as well. The clock will also be kept running after certain plays.

And if that doesn’t do it, Mr. Michaels will be going postal next weekend.

Em in the News

Controversial rapper Eminem is garnering attention this week. And, for once, it’s not because of his lyrics.

The Grammy nominee pleaded guilty yesterday to carrying a concealed weapon, after accepting an offer from prosecutors to drop a felony assault charge. According to CNN.com, the charges are the result of a June incident in Michigan when Em allegedly pistol-whipped another man. He is to return to court on April 10 for sentencing, where he could face up to five years in prison, or, more likely, a fine.

Meanwhile, the rumors have been confirmed. Em will perform a duet with Elton John at the February 21 Grammy Awards. Of course, many view it as an unlikely pairing, considering that the rapper’s lyrics are homophobic and John is openly gay.

John told the Los Angeles Times it was Em’s idea, but expressed much interest. “I’m a big fan of his music … I know I’m going to get a lot of flak from various people.”

Flak is right. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance has already expressed disappointment and embarrassment at John’s decision to perform.

Finally, Eminem told a British interviewer that he will appear in an upcoming “action movie” as “the villain.”

Not much surprise there.

E-News, in 30 Seconds

Puff Daddy has confirmed his split with Jennifer Lopez … Gladiator was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, while Battlefield Earth received the most “worst” nominations from the Golden Raspberry Foundation … Jon Stewart will be hosting this year’s Grammys … Sopranos‘ creator announced that the fourth season will be the show’s last … Network news executives promised Congress that they’ll improve the accuracy of future election coverage.

Quote of the Week

“It was gross. It made me gag. But then I realized it’s Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal Lecter, eating me! That is so fuckin’ cool!”

–Ray Liotta in Entertainment Weekly, describing a carnivorous event in Hannibal.

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