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'Saturday Night Live' scoop: Cast member Paul Brittain to leave immediately -- EXCLUSIVE

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Saturday Night Live viewers will notice one less familiar face on this weekend’s Channing Tatum-hosted episode: EW has learned exclusively that featured player Paul Brittain is leaving the show, effective immediately. A source close to the actor tells EW that Brittain “had the opportunity to pursue other projects, and he and the show parted ways amicably.” The comedian joined the show in September 2010 and performed original characters like “Sex” Ed Vincent as well as impersonations of stars like James Franco (see below).

Reps for SNL and Brittain had no comment. READ FULL STORY

Jonah Hill to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Adding to his ongoing list of accomplishments, first-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill will host Saturday Night Live for the second time in his career. A source close to the show confirmed that the Moneyball star will host the March 10 episode.

But before Hill returns to the stage at Studio 8H, his 21 Jump Street costar Channing Tatum will beat him to the punch, hosting this weekend’s new episode, with musical guest Best New Artist Grammy nominee Bon Iver.  (Zooey Deschanel, another SNL first-timer like Tatum, will have her go on Feb. 11.)

Read more:
Oscar nominations: Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, and more speak out about their nods
‘Moneyball’ star Jonah Hill on awards season consideration: ‘I think I’m still shell-shocked’
Jonah Hill announces ’21 Jump Street’ wrap

'SNL' writer John Mulaney on his new Comedy Central special and why he'll never make fun of 'Friday Night Lights'

Stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live scribe John Mulaney makes plenty of pop culture references in his one-hour Comedy Central special New in Town: Among other jokes, there’s a well-delivered line about Ratatouille and even a pitch-perfect Def Comedy Jam take on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. But Mulaney, who has an affinity for all things television (“I don’t daydream, I just think about things I saw on TV. I’ve noticed that sometimes I’ll be staring off and I’ll just be thinking about a commercial I saw when I was 10, or when they lip-synched Ray Charles on The Cosby Show,” he jokes to EW), assures us there’s one thing he won’t go near in his act: Friday Night Lights.

“The biggest new show in my life has been Friday Night Lights, which I watched on DVD,” Mulaney tells EW. “So I was thinking about new jokes and brainstorming and I was thinking, ‘Well why don’t you talk about how much you like Friday Night Lights?’ and another part of my brain was like, ‘No. You will not cheapen Friday Night Lights in your stand-up!’ Also, I took the show so seriously, I don’t even know if I have any funny take on it other than it being great and I want to be Coach Taylor. I did talk like Coach Taylor a little after I watched the series. I would talked in clip sentences like [in a convincing Coach Taylor accent] ‘You get your priorities straight.'”

Jay Leno sued for Mitt Romney joke

Somebody, it seems, takes Jay Leno’s jokes quite seriously.

NBC’s Tonight Show host recently showed a picture of a glittering gold building and claimed it was Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s summer home.

Ha-ha, because he’s rich, right? We get it.

Well, it seems the building is India’s Golden Temple of Amritsar, the holiest site in the Sikh religion. Sikh leaders were annoyed and protested the joke. Then Indian-American Randeep Dhillon filed a lawsuit. READ FULL STORY

NBC's giant Super Bowl plan: 18 hours of coverage, Fallon live show

The Super Bowl is the biggest event in television.

And NBC Universal has masterminded a plan to get every last ounce of viewership from it.

The company announced more than 18 hours of coverage for the 3.5-hour game, across NBC and its cable channels. A highlight: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon will go on the road for the first time in the show’s history, travel to Indianapolis for four shows, including a live special to air on Super Bowl Sunday.

Here’s the full rundown of NBC Universal’s on-air coverage of the big game. They even roped in the Golf Channel — and that’s about a whole different sport — and the Weather Channel — even though, as a reader pointed out below, this year the game is played indoors. “Universal” spelled backward: It’s “Las Revinu”! From the release: READ FULL STORY

Michelle Obama to appear on 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno'

NBC announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will appear as a guest on The Tonight Show on Tuesday, Jan. 31. While Mrs. Obama has appeared on The Tonight Show before, it will mark her first time visiting as the First Lady. (Her previous appearance was on Oct. 27, just days before Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States.)

Mrs. Obama, who has become something of a familiar face on television lately, will be on hand to discuss, among other things, her ongoing “Let’s Move” campaign and her upcoming book about her artificial grass garden on the South Lawn of the White House.

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Michelle Obama visits ‘iCarly’
Michelle Obama can Dougie — VIDEO

Did Craig Ferguson spoil 'Downton Abbey' during EW visit?

If you’re a fan of The Late Late Show, you know that Craig Ferguson is obsessed with Downton Abbey — to a fault.

On Tuesday’s show, while talking to EW’s Lynette Rice about midseason TV, he let slip an opinion (plot point?) about the character Mr. Bates that hinted he’d already seen season 2 in its entirety in Britain.

“Oops, spoiler alert,” he said. Twenty seconds of audience laughter followed while he grinned guiltily.

Though the spoiler sounded pretty genuine, PBS seemed to downplay the matter. Asked to comment on Ferguson’s overenthusiasm, Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of Masterpiece on PBS, issued the following statement to EW: “We love that Craig is such a big fan of Downton Abbey and he did that FAKE spoiler really, really well. We’re considering writing him into series 3 as an Under-Footman.”

Watch the clip below (the Downton Abbey conversation starts at 6:50), if you’re not pseudo-spoiler phobic. But beware the comments section, where Brits or impatient Americans who’ve spoiled themselves online may launch into their own conversation about Bates…  READ FULL STORY

David Letterman to surpass Johnny Carson with new 'Late Show' deal -- Report

about future years. There are no further details to announce at this time,” said CBS in a statement. But according to the New York Times, CBS has received the green light to retain key members of Letterman’s staff and that the host, who’s been at CBS since 1993, is looking to extend his deal for another two years. His current contract is due to expire this August.

If a deal is reached, Letterman would surpass the late-night run of his idol, Johnny Carson, who hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years. Letterman began his show on NBC, following Carson’s Tonight Show, back in 1982.

Representatives for Letterman did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Read more:
David Letterman’s annual Christmas show
Letterman supports Occupy Wall Street
Letterman mocks jihadist threat in monologue

Kathy Griffin to host new Bravo talk show 'Kathy'

Bravo got into the talk show game seriously when it announced in November that Andy Cohen’s late-night gabfest Watch What Happens Live would be airing five nights a week, but now the cable network is expanding on that foundation by launching comedian Kathy Griffin into her own weekly talk show, titled Kathy. The news was announced today during the network’s presentation at the TCA press tour in Pasadena, Calif. READ FULL STORY

NBC to screen Roots songs for Fallon

NBC is now checking the songs the Roots play on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon after the band performed an off-color song during Michele Bachmann’s show appearance last month.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots says now he’s “gotta clear a lot of the song choices” with the network.

“It’s still a comedy show, so they promise not to step on my toes or that type of thing, but they definitely want to know the title of the song, the subject matter of the song, can it be seen as an insult?” he said in an interview Thursday. READ FULL STORY

EW's Ken Tucker to Craig Ferguson: Kardashians are 'grotesque representations of humanity'

Attaboy, Ken!

EW’s own Ken Tucker made a repeat visit to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Thursday and as usual, our plain-talking critic held nothing back. In the clip below, hear Tucker tease one of his favorite shows of 2011 (he has excellent taste) and who won’t be making his Best Of list later this month.

(As for his choice in shoes, we are going to have to decline comment). READ FULL STORY

Jimmy Fallon bandleader says Bachmann's 'Tea Party extremists' hurling racial slurs

Just when we thought the media furor between NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Rep. Michele Bachmann was finished, this could stir things up again: Fallon’s bandleader and drummer ?uestlove says “Tea Party extremists” are hurling racial slurs at him on Twitter.

“I’ve seen some really colorful epithets in the past four days, but ‘n—er f–khead ghetto stick’ is probably the one that takes the cake,” the Roots musician told “I’m still trying to get my head around that one. Blocking 3,500 Tea Party extremists [on Twitter] in a three day period is no fun, especially when you’re a drummer dangerously close to carpal tunnel.” READ FULL STORY


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