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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside Kristen Wiig's enchanting last dance on 'SNL'

After seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig said goodbye on May 19. She’d co-written and starred in the surprise 2011 blockbuster Bridesmaids and the time had come, just as it had for stars like Chevy and Eddie and Will before her. SNL godfather Lorne Michaels called her one of the “top three or four” performers the show had ever produced, and during her reign, the show was dominated by sketches filled with the likes of the Target Lady, tiny-handed Dooneese, and compulsive one-upper Penelope.

Colin Jost started writing for Saturday Night Live in 2005, the same year that Wiig began as a featured player. They connected creatively and ultimately collaborated on several sketches, including some of her Björk bits and a commercial parody for Red Flag perfume. With Mick Jagger hosting the season finale, Jost assumed the responsibility of sending her off in style. The premise he came up with could not have been more simple — Jagger bidding farewell to an honored “graduate” with an impromptu dance  — but when each cast member cut in to share one last moment while Arcade Fire played the Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow,” the effect was magical.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage.

As told by: Colin Jost

I don’t think I raised the bar in any way. I think people find different ways of saying goodbye or people find different ways of saying goodbye to them. I remember when Will Ferrell left, he had a really funny documentary where people talked about Will, and Tracy Morgan talks about how Will Ferrell stole from him and [says] really mean stuff. I remember that Tina [Fey] and Jimmy [Fallon] had done one that was like a “Summer Lovin” from Grease kind of farewell. So people have different ways of doing it, and I think this is just one of them. READ FULL STORY

12 must-see holiday TV specials: Your viewing guide for the season

Image Credit: TBS

What’s the official mark of the beginning of the holiday season? Nope, it’s not the sound of “Jingle Bells” on the radio or the sight of wreaths and twinkle lights on storefronts, but holiday specials on the tube. From classic movies like It’s a Wonderful Life to Wednesday’s Saturday Night Live Christmas show, the programming options are endless. So whip out that eggnog-flavored popcorn (did we just invent that?) and enjoy the festivities.

Here are our picks for the 12 specials you won’t want to miss (check the schedule on the following pages for additional showtimes): READ FULL STORY

Martin Short and Paul McCartney tapped for 'Saturday Night Live' Christmas show

Get ready for A Very Ed Grimley Christmas.

EW has confirmed that SNL alum Martin Short will return to Studio 8H on Dec. 15 to host the sketch show’s last episode of 2012. He’ll be joined by Paul McCartney, who will be making his fifth Saturday Night Live appearance. McCartney last stopped by SNL in 2010.

Short has hosted SNL twice previously, though not since 1996. He’s made several cameo appearances between then and now, though, most recently in a 2006 episode. Short was a member of Saturday Night Live‘s cast during its 1984-1985 season.

Jamie Foxx will host SNL‘s next episode, which airs Dec. 8. NBC will also air SNL Christmas, a compilation of favorite holiday sketches, this Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m.

Read more:
‘Portlandia’: Juliette Lewis, Roseanne Barr, Bill Hader among season 3 guest stars — EXCLUSIVE
‘Saturday Night Live’ best host poll: Did Jeremy Renner hit the bull’s eye?
‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: It was ‘Mission: Impossible’ for Jeremy Renner

'Portlandia': Juliette Lewis, Roseanne Barr, Bill Hader among season 3 guest stars -- EXCLUSIVE

The Pacific Northwest is about to receive a healthy influx of talent from Hollywood. Season 3 of Portlandia, IFC’s quirky sketch comedy starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, will feature guest spots by Roseanne Barr, Juliette Lewis, Patton Oswalt, Rose Byrne, George Wendt, Armisen’s SNL castmates Bill Hader and Bobby Moynihan, Jim Gaffigan, Matt Berry, Matt Lucas, J Mascis, Dirty Projectors, and, yes, tennis legend Martina Navratilova. READ FULL STORY

Jamie Foxx to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Jamie Foxx will host Saturday Night Live on Dec. 8, with R&B star Ne-Yo as the musical guest. There to promote his starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained, it will be Foxx’s second time as a host. He last appeared in NBC’s Studio 8H on Jan. 8, 2000, when Bill Clinton was still president and Blink-182 was the musical guest.

Of course, Foxx is no stranger to sketch comedy; he starred in the final three seasons of Fox’s In Living Color.

Read more:
‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: It was ‘Mission: Impossible’ for Jeremy Renner
‘Saturday Night Live’ best host poll

Jeremy Renner says he's following Jon Hamm's footsteps to host 'SNL'

mentioned it to me after he did it. He said it’s something that I might really, really like doing, and that was some years ago,” Renner told EW on Thursday, after shooting a round of promos with musical guest Maroon 5 and Fred Armisen.

“I finally had the moment where they wanted me [and my schedule worked], and I was really, really happy about it, I suppose. It’s terrifying, I guess,” he admits, with a laugh. “It’s a great honor. It’s just one of those things where for me, as an actor, I feel like I’ve hit really interesting milestones in life, from just working and doing a movie that people see, to then getting nominated for an Academy Award. And then you do the cover of a magazine, and that’s always kind of an interesting, weird thing. And then you host SNL, and it’s a whole ‘nother interesting plateau. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As you’ve mentioned, you have friends who’ve hosted before. Who did you ask for advice, and what was the best tip you’ve received?
JEREMY RENNER:
 I talked to Jon Hamm about it. He didn’t really go into too much advice. He was just saying, like, “Dude, you gotta do it. Just go have fun and be a jackass. You’ll be great.” I’m like, “Okay, that sounds great.” And then I worked with Adam McKay [a producer on Renner's next film, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, due Jan. 25], who was a writer during the Will Ferrell years. We talked, and he gave me a little bit more advice. And then when I got here, everybody’s been so generous with their time, and thoughts, and feelings, just saying like, “Don’t worry about it. This is what’s gonna happen…” The whole cast has been really wonderful. READ FULL STORY

Does Mitt Romney's loss mean Jason Sudeikis will leave 'SNL'?

Four more years… of Jay Pharoah on Saturday Night Live! Barack Obama’s reelection all but ensures that SNL‘s talented impressionist will enjoy job security through at least 2016. But the status of Pharoah’s sparring buddy is a lot less certain. Mitt Romney’s big loss could easily mean that Jason Sudeikis will soon go the way of Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, two longtime SNL cast members who exited the show at the end of last season. Sure, Sudeikis also plays Obama’s vice president — but can we really expect him to stick around just to occasionally caricature Joe Biden?

Rumors about Sudeikis’s impending departure began flying last spring and intensified over the summer — especially after Sudeikis himself hinted he was on his way out in interviews with Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, and the L.A. Times. But in September, NBC confirmed that Sudeikis was sticking around for Saturday Night Live‘s 38th season — or, at least, the first half of it. “Right now the idea is that Jason will go through at least until January,” Lorne Michaels told the New York Times. Sudeikis became a featured player on SNL in 2005.

If he does say “adios” in early 2013, Sudeikis won’t be the first cast member to exit SNL mid-season.  READ FULL STORY

This week's 'SNL' brought to you by Anne Hathaway's hair -- VIDEO

Anne Hathaway is a divisive figure. Some praise her whole-hearted commitment to every role; others sneer that she always seems like she’s trying too hard. But either way, everyone should agree on one thing: She’s really pulling off that Audrey Hepburn crop.

Perhaps that’s why Hathaway’s hair gets third billing — right after Jason Sudeikis — in the promos for her upcoming Saturday Night Live stint. As a third-time host, Hathaway should be goofy, charming, and a little bit nerdy, if this video is any indication — and we can also expect her pixie cut to get plenty of attention. Get a first look at the Les Mis star’s SNL return engagement here:

READ FULL STORY

Louis C.K. emails fans before his first 'SNL' hosting gig: 'I'm a pretty lucky guy'

Just hours before comedian Louis C.K. takes the stage as host of Saturday Night Live – in the midst of what has been a time of great tragedy and devastation to the city and surrounding areas in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — he e-mailed out the following message to his fans before his debut. Here below is his message in its entirety: READ FULL STORY

'SNL': Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Renner to host new episodes

Saturday Night Live must go on — hurricane or no hurricane. NBC’s comedy mainstay has just announced two new host/musical guest combos who will helm the show after this Saturday’s episode, which will feature Louis CK and fun.

SNL vets Anne Hathaway and Rihanna will team up for the show’s Nov. 10 episode. Les Misérables star Hathaway has hosted three times previously; musical guest Rihanna has appeared on the show four times. Her next album, Unapologetic, will be released Nov. 19.

Jeremy Renner is set to host for the first time Nov. 17. The Academy Award nominee will be joined by musical guest Maroon 5, a chart-topping band with an NBC connection — lead singer Adam Levine does double duty as a coach on The Voice.

Read more:
Who has been the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ host so far this season? — VOTE
‘Les Miserables’: 5 Character Posters
‘Hansel and Gretel’ red-band trailer: 101 ways to kill a witch

Louis CK to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Louis CK will host Saturday Night Live on Nov. 3. This will be his first time as host, though the Emmy-winning star of Louie and revered stand-up comedian helped write several of Robert Smigel’s “Saturday TV Funhouses” over the years, and he once appeared uncredited in an SNL sketch back in 1995. Not for nothing, but he also made his bones writing for Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, Dana Carvey, and David Letterman, so it should be fascinating to see what stand-up’s biggest star brings to Studio 8H.

Fun. will join him as musical guest.

Read more:
‘Saturday Night Live’ recap: Bruno Mars
Chevy Chase quasi-insults Louis CK
Gallery: 17 TV Sad Sacks

'Saturday Night Live': Lorne Michaels talks Kristen Wiig's departure, the new cast members, and Jason Sudeikis' future -- EXCLUSIVE

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

This season, Saturday Night Live has had to adjust to the departures of two of its biggest names in recent years, Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. To fill the void, the show has four new featured players: Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Tim Robinson. The newcomers have all shown promise, particularly McKinnon, who debuted at the end of last season and who’s gotten buzz for her impersonations of Ann Romney and Penelope Cruz. EW talked with SNL maestro Lorne Michaels about the newbies and losing Wiig and Samberg.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: After finding out that Kristen and Andy weren’t  coming back, was there a moment of panic?
LORNE MICHAELS:
I think there’s a tremendous feeling of loss like, What will you do and it will never be the same. Then, the sun comes up. I was in Chicago for like four days just looking for people. Kate we brought in the spring and that worked well. The one thing you can’t do is try to replace Kristen Wiig with Kristen Wiig. You know Chevy Chase was followed by Bill Murray. And that worked well because it’s hard enough to make your mark without being compared to the person that you are “replacing.” READ FULL STORY

Bruno Mars on hosting 'SNL': 'I'm not going to be funny' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Being both host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live is no small feat – but as long as Bruno Mars isn’t feeling lazy, he should be up for the task. In an interview with NBC yesterday, the versatile musician expressed how excited he is to guest on this weekend’s episode. He also showed off his comedic skills; when asked if he’s planning to be funny, Mars deadpanned, “I’m not going to be funny. It’s going to be something new they’re trying on SNL.”

Check out the interview — which also includes some intel about Mars’ new album — exclusively on EW.com.

READ FULL STORY

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