Before you tune into Saturday Night Live this weekend, watch some, well, Saturday Night Live. NBC announced on Wednesday that it’s launching SNL Vintage, in which the network will re-air classic episodes of the show at 10 p.m. on Saturdays in honor of its 40th anniversary. The week’s selection is the first season’s Richard Pryor-hosted episode with Gil Scott-Heron as musical guest—a must-watch as it features the “Word Association” sketch. READ FULL STORY
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Sasha Alexander has landed a major multi-episode guest-starring role on Shameless’ upcoming fifth season, EW has learned.
Christopher Walken—hook and all—is set to battle Allison Williams in this first look at his take on Captain Hook from NBC’s upcoming live production of Peter Pan. Walken’s lavishly outfitted Hook has a villainous look in his eyes as he towers over Williams’ Pan—a taste of what’s to come when they tackle the musical that opened on Broadway in 1954. READ FULL STORY
Before we begin, an explanation: This is not a list of the 39 best SNL sketches of all time.
Any institution that lasts as long as Saturday Night Live has—and that experiences as much cast and writer turnover as Saturday Night Live does—will necessarily have stronger years and leaner years. In SNL‘s case, the difference between eras can be especially stark; you’re more likely to laugh at a meh John Belushi sketch than you are at even the finest display of Charles Rocket’s talents. Given that fact, it’s easy for a simple “best sketches ever” list to focus only on the best-known work of SNL‘s biggest stars (your Will Ferrells, your Eddies Murphy) while totally ignoring its less memorable seasons—which also means that such a list won’t really provide an overview of the show’s long, tangled, uneven history.
Thus this: In honor of the show’s upcoming 40th season, EW‘s team of SNL experts has assembled an inventory of each individual season’s best sketch. You’ll find many familiar picks below, as well as more obscure selections—and, perhaps, the absence of a few sure things. (There’s no “Celebrity Jeopardy,” for example, both because those sketches aired during a particularly fertile period—how can you pick even Turd Ferguson over “More Cowbell”?—and because we included one of them in a magazine feature called “Build a Perfect SNL Episode.”) Scroll through—and don’t forget to vote for your favorite one by 5 p.m. ET Sept. 26 at our poll here.
Season 1, 1975–1976
“Word Association,” Dec. 13, 1975
What kind of janitorial company gives job applicants a racist psychological test? The one Saturday Night Live invented for one of the most audacious two-minute segments in TV history. Even nearly 40 years later, Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor’s tense pas de deux (“Jungle bunny!” “Honky!”…”N—–!” “Dead honky!”) is just as sharp as it was in the ’70s—not to mention every bit as uncomfortably funny. READ FULL STORY
'The Walking Dead' star Melissa McBride talks Carol and the 'whole other different energy' of season 5
Carol was more of a background character when The Walking Dead first started on AMC. Sure, she had a crappy husband and had to deal with her zombified daughter, but she never quite seemed integral to the main story. That all changed last season when a hardened, no-nonsense Carol emerged and started recognizing that drastic times call for drastic measures. She killed Tyreese’s girlfriend and some other poor schmo and burned their bodies in an attempt to stop the spread of a deadly virus: That lead to her being kicked out of the prison by Rick. And then she shot and killed her adopted daughter Lizzie after realizing the girl was a complete psychopath. (But a super sweet psychopath, it should be noted.)
All of this was played to pure perfection by actress Melissa McBride, who has helped turn Carol into one of the can’t-miss-characters on the show. With The Walking Dead returning for season 5 on Oct. 12, we caught up with Melissa to chat about awards, spoilers, and what we can expect coming up. READ FULL STORY
Cue up your favorite Liam Neesons movie and limber up those hands for a game of slap ass: Key & Peele will kick off season four tonight. To mark the occasion—and to tip our silliest of silly hats to this ridiculously clever and inventive sketch series—we tapped the two stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, to serve as guest editors of this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Not surprisingly, they showcased a whole new set of skills. But given that we can never get enough of their impressions, we also asked them to whip out their best impersonations of each other. And not only do you get to enjoy this freakiest of Fridays swap on a Wednesday, you get to vote for who nails the other one better. Key has a word of warning before making your selection, though. He urges you to choose “not which impression is the most entertaining, but which impression is the most accurate.” Watch the video and then vote with your conscience. Or your computer. READ FULL STORY
While fans were geeking out over seeing Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and the Howling Commandos in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere, they may have missed a major tease at what’s to come during the first five minutes of the episode.
The television adaptation of Steven Soderbergh’s movie The Girlfriend Experience looks like it has found its star. Indiewire’s The Playlist reports that Riley Keough will take on the 13-episode series, which will, like the film, tackle the concept of expensive escorts who provide their clients with the “girlfriend experience”—that is, providing affectionate, sustained interaction apart from (or in addition to) sexual acts. Adult film star Sasha Grey was the lead in the film. READ FULL STORY
Crime-stopper-stuffed Tuesday night had no less than six procedural dramas debuting. Some were familiar, some were brand new. Here’s who came out on top in the ratings in the key adult demo:
– CBS’ NCIS (18 million viewers, 2.9 rating among adults 18-49): This show has been on 12 years now, yet once again NCIS returned in the lead in its usual 8 p.m. slot. Still, NCIS is starting to show its age as this performance marks the show’s lowest-rated premiere since its series debut.
– NBC’s Chicago Fire (9.4 million, 2.7): Yes, Chicago Fire! Granted, the soapy drama series has a huge lead-in from The Voice (13 million, 4.0) but as I always point out: Nobody is forced to watch a TV show, a series still needs to earn the bulk of its audience. Last night Chicago Fire manage to tie last year’s strong premiere at 10 p.m. — which is really impressive and isn’t common nowadays. The show’s debut could have been boosted by NBC teasing fans that a character was going to get killed off in the premiere.
– CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans (17.1 million, 2.5): This is a respectable premiere in the demo for the latest NCIS spin-off at 9 p.m., yet the performance is down 17 percent from the return of NCIS: LA last fall. Among total viewers, however, NCIS: NO now takes the crown from CBS’ Madam Secretary as the most-watched new fall debut. READ FULL STORY
How does a faded Missouri family with the state’s longest-running variety show recapture fame and America’s heartland heart? By singing more, of course.
Imagine your standard Kardashian-style reality family drama with one uniquely insane, Smash-ing element: improvised music during confessionals. That’s the approach truTV is taking to what the network is calling the “first-ever reality musical.” Branson Famous is set behind the scenes at the Baldknobbers Jamboree in Branson, MO, and stars the Mabe family, who are employing every tactic available to cling to their legacy revue as it slips further into financial decline (and a “new sexy singer in town” definitely does not bode well either).
The series premieres on truTV in December and with it comes one of the most bizarre (yet strangely intriguing) concepts you’ll see on TV this year. Below, check out EW’s exclusive first look at the country-fried ambition that is Branson Famous. READ FULL STORY
One of the most exciting casting announcements for the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Adrianne Palicki’s guest role as the superhero Mockingbird. Like Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye—a character whose comics counterpart actually has a relationship with her—Mockingbird isn’t so much a superpowered demigod as she is a highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. operative. But before Palicki can become Mockingbird, she’ll first have to appear as Bobbi Morse.
Courtesy of ABC, here’s your first look at Palicki as Bobbi Morse, the head of Hydra Security and the future Mockingbird. But will she be friend or foe to Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.? The Mockingbird part suggests friend, but the Hydra part…things might get complicated.
Palicki will appear as Bobbi Morse in the October 21 episode, “A Hen in the Wolf House.”
Kate McKinnon knows, at least in part, what fans want out of Chris Pratt’s gig hosting the premiere of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season: abs and embarrassed giggles. Pratt sheepishly declares that he’s not a piece of meat, but ultimately, relinquishes and bares his now-famous stomach for McKinnon when she hounds him. “I feel dirty,” he says. READ FULL STORY
Bubbles, Sunny, Lulu, Izzy, and Yikes are getting their own Netflix series.
Netflix announced on Wednesday Popples, a new original series for kids that brings to life the brightly colored, fluffy toy creatures popular in the 1980s.
Produced by Saban Brands with ZAG Entertainment exclusively for the streaming site, the 26 half-hour episodes will be available beginning in late 2015. The show follows the adventures of the five Best Popple Pals in the “colorful world of Popplopolis.” Despite the fact that they have good intentions, they often find themselves coming up with crazy methods to escape the “mayhem” they’ve caused.
“We look forward to debuting this new Popples series to children around the world,” said Haim Saban, Chairman and CEO of Saban Capital Group and founder of Saban Brands, in a statement to EW. “Netflix continues to be a great strategic partner, delivering compelling content that kids can enjoy anywhere and everywhere. With the global reach of Netflix, we know Popples will reach a whole new generation of kids that will love it as much as their parents.”
Popples, which were originally introduced in 1985, were previously brought to the screen with a Saturday morning cartoon that aired from 1986 to 1987.
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