- - Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eli Manning sensed his brother’s shadow, even as a comedic actor.

“Saturday Night Live” producers invited the New York Giants quarterback to host after he won his first Super Bowl in 2008. One of the many reasons he declined was that Peyton Manning had hosted the show a year earlier after his own championship.

“Peyton had done so well the previous year, I thought it might be a little fresh in everyone’s minds,” Manning said Wednesday in an Associated Press interview. “I did not want to have to go up against a tough competition and the great job that he performed.”

Manning recalled he sent word back that perhaps he’d host if he won another title. Sure enough, he said yes after winning his second ring and will star in the late-night sketch show on Saturday.

“I had not proven myself as much as I wanted to,” he said of that initial offer four years ago.

“We know how Eli reacts both under pressure and also with changing things quickly,” “SNL” chief Lorne Michaels said. “I don’t think we’re making any other kinds of concession because it’s an athlete over an actor, comedian or singer — or politician, for that matter.”

“The good thing about ‘Saturday Night Live’ is you can come in and maybe express the different sides that people don’t see,” Mr. Manning said. “Maybe that’s not you at all times, but for this night you can kind of let loose.”

Asked which Manning brother is funnier, the “SNL” creator replied, “We won’t really know that til Saturday.”

PBS plans 6-hour series on Latinos in the U.S.

PBS said Wednesday it is preparing a six-hour documentary series on the history of Latinos in the United States, set to air in the fall of 2013.

English and Spanish-language versions are being produced for the project, which will air across three days. The supervising producer is Adriana Bosch, a Cuban-American who recently did a documentary for PBS on Latin music.

Ms. Bosch said she began meeting with officials at WETA, the PBS station in Washington, in 2008 about the project. They spent nearly three years putting funding together before starting with the filming.

It was in 2007 that Latino organizations criticized PBS and filmmaker Ken Burns for inadequately representing the contributions of Latinos in his 15-hour documentary on World War II.

“I thought this was a story whose time had come, had come a long time ago. I was surprised that it hadn’t been done,” said Ms. Bosch, who recalled similar series on the experiences of African-Americans, Jews and the Irish in the U.S.

A large part of the documentary will focus on the experiences of Mexican-Americans, but it also will include stories about Latinos from other countries who made contributions to the U.S., she said.

“Latinos have been part of American history since before there were 13 Colonies,” she said.

The sprawling project includes an advisory panel of academics from across the country and 15 other producers and assistants.

Ms. Bosch said she hoped both non-Latinos and Latinos seeking to learn about their heritage will tune in. The project will have a companion book, a bilingual website and a school curriculum tied to its findings. “We don’t want this to end with the broadcast,” she said.

Tunisian TV station owner fined for airing ‘Persepolis’

A Tunisian court on Thursday slapped a small fine on the owner of the private Nessma television station for undermining morality and public order by screening the film “Persepolis,” which showed depictions of God.

The case was seen as a key test of media freedom in Tunisia since the ousting of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. Press watchdogs and the U.S. ambassador to Tunis warned it raised concerns about tolerance and free speech in the post-revolution era.

Last year, Nabil Karoui broadcast the award-winning Franco-Iranian film that recounts the Iranian revolution and its aftermath through the eyes of a young girl, and which includes a drawing of Allah, an act considered blasphemy by Sunni Muslims.

The screening prompted attacks on the station’s offices and Mr. Karoui’s home by activists linked to Salafism, a conservative strand of Islam.

In its ruling, the court ordered Mr. Karoui to pay $1,700 for “broadcasting a film that disturbs public order and threatens proper morals.”

Mr. Karoui was not in court for the judgment, but later told AFP he was saddened by the court’s decision and how it reflected on a country still in flux after toppling an entrenched dictatorship and sparking the Arab Spring.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.