NBC announces fall shows with Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update returning to prime time
Here’s one thing you can count on next season: more Saturday Night Live. In a presentation earlier this week, NBC revealed it will bring back the half-hour prime-time SNL Weekend Update Thursday for at least six episodes in the 2009-10 season. Seth Meyers will helm the program, possibly with a co-anchor. (Might we suggest Kristen Wiig?) ”It outperformed, frankly, everything,” NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman says of last fall’s three specials, which averaged 9.5 million viewers, easily besting the current audiences for NBC comedies My Name Is Earl (6.2 million), The Office (8.0 million), and 30 Rock (6.7 million).
Silverman says the specials won’t stretch SNL too thin, even in a non-election year. ”There’s so much opportunity to skewer, whether it’s a Susan Boyle moment or it’s Joe Biden not wanting to get into a subway today,” he contends. ”This will be a live comedy in that Thursday-night lineup. No one else is doing that.” The installments will likely feature appearances from Update alums and current NBC stars Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), as well as ”all the assets of Saturday Night Live” — a.k.a. the rest of the cast.
In addition, NBC showed some of its other fall cards: Returning series Heroes, Parks and Recreation, and Southland were picked up, while Law & Order, Chuck, My Name Is Earl, and Medium remain in limbo. —Tanner Stransky
New series include two comedies (Community with Joel McHale and the Friends-esque 100 Questions) and four new dramas: Mercy, about nurses; Trauma, about paramedics; movie-to-series adaptation Parenthood (featuring Maura Tierney and Peter Krause); and the apocalyptic Day One. The network’s schedule (along with the fate of Chuck, etc.) won’t be announced until May 19. With The Jay Leno Show filling the 10 p.m. hour every weeknight, the biggest problem now may be finding a decent spot for everything the network has in the hopper.
Natalie Portman: producer and Web entrepreneur
Is Natalie Portman the next mogul? The 27-year-old showbiz veteran will produce her first film, Hesher, for her Handsome-charlie production company. The indie drama began filming this week with stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson, and Portman herself. The actress also just launched a new website, MakingOf.com, which gives users a behind-the-scenes look at movies like Angels & Demons. In the age of Twitter, the site is surprisingly in-depth. ”I didn’t want it to be about me,” Portman tells EW. ”There are all these technological innovations coming out every second, yet so often they are not used in a very interesting way.” —Nicole Sperling