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Tuning in to TV: NBC sends affiliates apology for skipping 9/11 moment

- - Thursday, September 13, 2012

NBC News has sent managers at its affiliated stations an apology for putting them through severe criticism after "Today" failed to carry the moment of silence the nation observed on Sept. 11, according to a report by the New York Times.

However, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, did not apologize for the decision not to show the president and first lady as they called for the moment of silence. Mr. Capus also did not issue a public apology and there was no official news release to the media about NBC's actions.

"Today" was the only one of the big three morning broadcast network shows not to air the moment of silence as it happened. Instead, "Today" had an interview with Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian clan, in which she discussed her breast augmentation. That brought criticism from other media and online sources that showing Mrs. Jenner at that time was in especially bad taste.

In his memo to the NBC affiliates, Mr. Capus noted that "Today" had included extensive coverage of the attacks on the American embassies in Libya and riots in Egypt. Then he told the affiliates, according to the New York Times report: "Yesterday, we made an editorial call resulting in the September 11 moment of silence not being seen. While we dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to anniversary events, we still touched a nerve with many of your viewers and for that we apologize."

NBC is taking the stance that it has not carried the moment of silence regularly since 2006, with the exception of last year's 10th anniversary observance, so it did not seem to be an unusual decision at the time.

New Obama elected by 'Saturday Night Live'

"Saturday Night Live" has elected a new Barack Obama: Jay Pharoah will take over the plum role of impersonating the president.

"SNL" creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels announced the casting switch in an interview with the New York Times posted Wednesday. Mr. Michaels said it was time "to shake it up."

Veteran cast member Fred Armisen has played Mr. Obama since 2008. Mr. Pharoah joined the show in 2010, and has since stood out for his impressions of Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy and Will Smith.

Mr. Michaels also said Jason Sudeikis will continue to play Mr. Obama's Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.

The 38th season of "SNL" premieres Saturday with host Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy," and musical guest Frank Ocean.

'Jersey Shore' cast member banned from restaurant

A cast member of the "Jersey Shore" reality series has been banned for two years from a restaurant where she got drunk.

New Jersey's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Thursday announced a settlement that bars Deena Cortese from Spicy Cantina & Mexican Grille in Seaside Heights.

The restaurant must pay a $15,000 fine for serving a visibly intoxicated Miss Cortese.

She was arrested June 10 for dancing in a roadway and interfering with traffic.

The state says Miss Cortese and a film crew spent 90 minutes inside the restaurant, during which she walked on the bar, fell down and stood on someone's table while they were eating.

She paid a $106 fine after pleading guilty to failing to use the sidewalk.

Tom Hanks to narrate 'Killing Lincoln'

Tom Hanks has been tapped to narrate the film "Killing Lincoln" from executive producers Ridley Scott and the late Tony Scott's Scott Free Productions.

The Oscar-winning actor will wear several hats — host, narrator and historical commentator — for the two-hour movie, slated to air on the National Geographic Channel early next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"Killing Lincoln" is based on the best-selling book "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever," written by Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, and retells the events featuring Billy Campbell as Abraham Lincoln and Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth, combining CGI technology with "rare historical archives," according to a release.

"It's odd to say the killing of Abraham Lincoln is an unknown story, but it may as well be," Mr. Hanks said in a statement. "The depth of the intrigue, the breadth of the conspiracy and the bare-naked exposure of human nature is so timeless, it's a wonder how that seminal tragedy in our history could ever be explained in a few sentences: 'Ford's Theater John Wilkes Booth,' etc. The murder of Lincoln is not a passage of our history — it was a signpost of our American character, then, now and forever."

Compiled from Web and wire reports