''Thirtysomething,'' Meg Tilly, and John Belushi made headlines this week

We all know that Branford Marsalis plans to be Jay Leno’s bandleader on The Tonight Show. (Although the sax man hasn’t yet inked the deal, it’s almost a sure thing.) But what we don’t know is what kind of sound he’s shooting for, after 25 years of Doc Severinsen. Marsalis hopes for an eight-piece ensemble free to do bebop and other jazz styles. ”We’re not going to play ‘Stump the Band,”’ he says. ”We’re going to play ‘Stump the Audience.”’

Thirtysomething has been gone a year, but its yuppie zeitgeist has seeped into commercials. Peter Horton (the hirsute Gary) directed a national Kool-Aid ad in which parents brag about their kids, and his Boston Globe spots are being aired locally during the Winter Olympics. ”We knew Peter’s directing work from thirtysomething and we wanted that slice-of-life quality,” says Karen Kaplan of Boston’s Hill, Holliday ad agency.

Following in the fearsome footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks will direct a Tales From the Crypt episode, due in June on HBO. Concerning a cad who marries and murders rich old ladies, the show stars Treat Williams and Hanks himself.

Peter Chelsom’s acclaimed directorial debut, Hear My Song, with Ned Beatty as Irish tenor Josef Locke, beat out Barbra Streisand’s The Prince of Tides as the featured film at the Royal Premiere in London. Locke, now 74, will sing at the March 3 benefit at the request of Princess Diana.

Omigod — it’s the pod squad! Meg Tilly (The Girl on a Swing) stars in Body Snatchers, a $13 million tribute by director Abel Ferrara (King of New York) to Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake of Don Siegel’s 1956 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

What is it with remakes and sequels lately? Approaching the 10th anniversary of John Belushi’s death on March 5, the hot musical in London is A Tribute to the Blues Brothers, a tribute to the 1980 Belushi/Dan Aykroyd film, which is itself a tribute to musician Curtis Salgado’s tribute to the R&B originals.

Meanwhile, director Penelope Spheeris, who plumbed punk culture in her 1981 documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization, and took on heavy-metal bands in 1988’s Decline…Part 2, plans to give the rock-doc a twist in a third film, The Decline of Eastern Civilization, about the Japanese heavy-metal scene. ”There’s a mania for this music there,” says Spheeris, ”and with so much noise going on between us and Japan, music bridges the gap.”

Written by: Ron Givens, Jane Birnbaum, Pat H. Broeske, Sharon Isaak, Jeffrey Wells, Mark Harris