- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2008

‘SNL replaces 2 stars

Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins have joined NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” replacing two of the show’s departed superstars - Amy Poehler and Tina Fey - Fox News reports.

Miss Elliott and Miss Watkins were scheduled to make their first appearance on Saturday

Miss Elliott comes from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, an improv/sketch company co-founded by Miss Poehler. She also is a second-generation “SNL” cast member. Her father, Chris Elliott, was a regular on the show during the 1994-95 season. Moreover, Miss Elliott’s grandfather, Bob Elliott, was half of the legendary comedy duo Bob & Ray.

Miss Watkins comes from the Groundlings comedy troupe, launching pad of past “SNL” players including Will Ferrell, Laraine Newman and current cast member Kristen Wiig.

Miss Poehler last performed on the show’s Oct. 23 prime-time special. She gave birth to a son, Archie Arnett, hours before she was to appear on the Oct. 25 broadcast. Miss Fey left the cast two years ago and stars on the sitcom “30 Rock” but has made regular guest appearances on “SNL” with her impression of Alaska Gov. and the 2008 Republican vice-presi dential candidate Sarah Palin during this year’s presidential race.

‘Mad’ gets heave-ho

“Mad TV,” Fox’s veteran late-night sketch-comedy show, has been shown the door by the network, MediaWeek.com reports.

The show, which debuted on Fox in October 1995 and was given a shortened episode order this season, will end production next month.

Fox reportedly told Media Week the cancellation was brought on by the rising cost of producing the series.

The final episode will air in May.

‘Daisies’ in doubt

ABC‘s “Pushing Daisies” wrapped production on its 13th episode Thursday, and industry sources are buzzing that the network does not plan to order more episodes.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, an ABC spokesperson said no decision has been made, and series creator Bryan Fuller said he has not heard a verdict.

“Our ABC exec was on the set last night saying they are still swinging in the fight to keep ‘Daisies’ on the air,” Mr. Fuller said. “Spirits are high and hopeful, and everyone here is very proud of our work and this show.”

The show will have to be alerted soon to avoid disruption of production.

“Daisies” has averaged 6.6 million viewers this season.

Mr. Fuller previously expressed interest in returning to the writing staff of NBC’s “Heroes” if “Daisies” departs. He also has indicated that he would finish this season’s story lines in comic-book form.

Working in favor of “Daisies”: ABC has a history of giving chances to struggling shows - such as “Eli Stone,” “What About Brian” and “According to Jim,” THR notes.

‘View’ tops in daytime

After a dozen years on the air, “The View” finally became the week’s most watched show in daytime.

The ABC chat fest - with co-hosts Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and show creator Barbara Walters - averaged 4.7 million viewers for the week ending Nov. 9, garnering its biggest audience ever (6.2 million) on Nov. 5, the day after the election.

Gervais to ‘Sesame’

Ricky Gervais is set to make the kiddies chuckle.

The British comedian will appear on “Sesame Street,” World Entertainment News Network reports.

Mr. Gervais,” the mastermind behind “The Office” and “Extras,” will join the list of big stars, including David Beckham, Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro, who have starred in the long-running show in recent years.

Mr. Gervais says he agreed to the part because the role was too big to refuse.

“I’ve been asked to do Sesame Street - there are some things you don’t turn down,” he writes on his Web site.

He also reveals that he has approached Al Pacino, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito to make cameo appearances in the third series of his hit sitcom “Extras,” in which A-list stars play themselves alongside Mr. Gervais’ struggling-actor character, Andy Millman. New episodes haven’t been produced on the series - seen in the United States on HBO - since last year’s Christmas special.

— Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, Web and wire reports

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