Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson are among those departing from “Saturday Night Live,” leaving the sketch institution without arguably its two most famous names after Saturday's finale of its 47th season. Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney will also leave the cast after the episode hosted by Natasha Lyonne. The 38-year-old McKinnon won two Emmys in her 10 seasons on the show, during which her impressions included Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Her comic chops with characters frequently drove castmates and hosts to lose it live on air. The 28-year-old Davidson joined the cast in 2014 and has appeared in eight seasons.
Herschel Walker boasts of his charity work helping members of the military who struggle with mental health. The football legend and leading Republican Senate candidate in Georgia says the outreach is done through a program he created, called Patriot Support. But court filings and company documents offer a more complicated picture. They show Walker did not found the program. It's also not a charity. It's an arm of a for-profit hospital chain. Court documents reveal the company has a checkered history treating veterans and reached a $122 million settlement after the Justice Department sued for improperly treating patients. The company denies the allegations. Walker's campaign criticized the media for writing a story about the program.
A South Carolina judge has granted bond for the former “American Idol” contestant accused of barreling into a man with his pickup truck and killing him. News outlets report that 17-year-old Caleb Kennedy received a $50,000 bond and was ordered Friday to receive mental health treatment while in home detention. Kennedy had been jailed since February on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in the death of 54-year-old Larry Duane Parris. Prosecutors previously said Kennedy had marijuana and Prozac in his system at the time of the crash.
The CBS sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola” will close out the season on Monday, but it's been renewed for its fourth year. Billy Gardell, who plays Bob, considers himself a two-time winner. He starred with Melissa McCarthy for six years in “Mike & Molly,” and he's lucked out again with “Bob Hearts Abishola." Gardell plays a sock salesman who woos and wins a cardiac care nurse who is younger than him and is African-born. Viewers of the show have seen Bob slim down along with Gardell, who says he underwent gastric-bypass surgery after careful consideration. It takes continued effort, he said, calling it a personal decision.
There were constant reminders this past week, when major entertainment companies hawked their wares to advertisers in Manhattan presentations, of the diminished role of broadcast networks. In some ways, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox were after-thoughts. They've lost a tremendous amount of viewership in the past two decades, and ceded leadership in creativity to the streaming services. Yet their fall schedules illustrate how the networks are coming to terms with their new roles — by emphasizing dependable franchise dramas, live or unscripted programming, and sports. And, as one broadcast executive noted, they still supply a lot of popular shows for the streamers.
Ellen DeGeneres is proud of what she's accomplished in nearly two decades as a daytime TV host, but she's ready to say goodbye. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will air its last original episodes next week, Monday through Thursday. Among the guests: Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis and Bruno Mars, with Jennifer Aniston, Billie Eilish and Pink on the Thursday, May 26, finale. DeGeneres says her approach to the show was to give the audience something fun and occasionally serious. She also acknowledges that who she is counted too: a TV host who is part of the LGBTQ community and was accepted by viewers.
Network TV’s fondness for reality fare and reboots combine in “The Real Love Boat,” a sea-going dating show that’s part of the CBS fall schedule announced Wednesday. Described as a “romance adventure competition,” the series credits as its inspiration the popular and kitschy comedy-drama “The Love Boat,” which aired from 1977-86 on ABC. “The Real Love Boat” will follow returning shows “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” on Wednesday this fall, a rare all-reality night for CBS. The network is also launching three new scripted series. There's a police drama, “East New York”; “Fire Country,” about a convict-firefighter, and a legal comedy-drama, “So Help Me Todd."
After lots of TV audience tears, NBC's family drama “This Is Us” is ending its run. The show's creator says he wanted to stick to his decision to end the show after six seasons. The series remains popular, but Dan Fogelman says it's the right time creatively to wrap. “This Is Us” follows Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their extended family over four decades, jumping back and forth in time. The show's creator says that with story lines largely resolved, the finale is a chance to “sit with this family" on a meditative day. The last episode of “This Is Us” airs May 24.
In what was essentially the company's public debut, executives at the new Warner Bros. Discovery media giant showed they have big dreams. Its leader, David Zaslav, portrayed the company as effectively a fifth broadcast television network in the United States, and said the goal was to build the most dynamic media and entertainment company in the world. The company was holding its first “upfront” presentation, where content companies present their wares to Madison Avenue executives in the hope that they invest in ads. The presentation featured Jennifer Hudson trying out her new role as a talk show host, and a colorful appearance by singer Lizzo.
Broadcast television networks, inundated with competition from cable and streaming services, have learned the power of franchises. Last week's Nielsen company list is a stark reminder: 12 of the 20 most popular scripted series last week were parts of existing franchises — the three “Chicago” dramas on NBC and the three “FBI” shows on CBS, for example. ABC, in announcing its new fall schedule on Tuesday, said it will try to create its own franchise by spinning off a companion version to its show “The Rookie” in the fall. CBS won the week in prime time last week, with NBC coming in second.
ABC is teaming Hilary Swank and the writer of the “Spotlight” movie for a new series with a journalist as a hero. ABC entertainment chief Craig Erwich says it's a brave show for this era, and is a very optimistic look at the profession of journalism. Swank plays a reporter who heads to Alaska seeking personal and professional redemption. The creator is Tom McCarthy, whose 2015 film about the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church won an Academy Award. In its fall schedule announced Tuesday, ABC says it will air a prime-time celebrity version of ‘Jeopardy!’ on Sunday nights.
During a week in mid-May, broadcast television networks traditionally unveil their fall plans in flashy presentations before advertisers in New York. Fox is no different, but this year the network is trying something new by announcing some programs but not its schedule. NBC, which had its first large-scale programming announcement in three years because of the COVID break, emphasized its place in the larger media conglomerate with the Peacock streaming service and cable networks. Fox says the absence of its schedule is an effort to try something new and give equal weight to its Tubi streaming service. Fixed schedules are slowly becoming obsolete as viewers decide what to watch and when.
A federal trial for reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley on charges including bank fraud and tax evasion is set to get underway Monday in Atlanta. The Chrisleys were initially indicted in August 2019 and a new indictment was filed in February of this year. Prosecutors say the stars of “Chrisley Knows Best” submitted false documents to banks to get loans and failed to pay federal income taxes for multiple years. An accountant who worked for them also faces charges. All three have pleaded not guilty. Jury selection is set for Monday with opening statements expected Tuesday.
Tom Brady had just retired, Russell Wilson was in Seattle and the free-agent frenzy hadn’t even started when the NFL schedule makers started to dig in after the Super Bowl on putting together the complex puzzle of a 272-game schedule. After sifting through more than 100,000 schedules out of a possibility of more than one quadrillion possibilities, the final schedule had Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Wilson and his new team in Denver getting prime-time television windows in Week 1.
A defensive coordinator trying to put together a game plan to stop Justin Herbert or Patrick Mahomes has an easier task than the NFL trying to put together the schedule for Thursday night football. There’s trying to put together intriguing matchups and considerations with a short turnaround. Add into it a new television partner paying $1.2 billion a season to carry those games for 11 years, and the pressure is ratcheted up even more. Yet, despite all the hurdles. Amazon Prime Video is pleased about its slate of games for its first season as the exclusive carrier of “Thursday Night Football.” The Los Angeles Chargers-Kansas City Chiefs matchup on Sept. 15 was announced two weeks ago while the remaining 14 games were unveiled on Thursday.
The winner of a Food Network cooking show competition has been found guilty in the beating death last year of a 3-year-old foster child in her care. News outlets reported the jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering the unanimous verdict Thursday against 30-year-old Ariel Robinson, of Simpsonville. She made no comment before Judge Letitia Verdin sentenced her to life in prison on a charge of homicide by child abuse. Robinson's husband, Austin Robinson, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse last month. He faces up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. He testified that his wife beat Victoria Smith on Jan. 14, 2021. Medical evidence showed she died when blood pooled in her body and could not get to her brain.
Gino Cappelletti, a former AFL Most Valuable Player and original member of the Boston Patriots who was part of the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89. Cappelletti died at his home in Massachusetts. His death was announced by the New England Patriots on Thursday. No cause of death was given. Known as “The Duke,” Cappelletti played receiver and kicker and scored the first regular-season points in AFL history when he connected on a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Patriots’ 13-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9, 1960. He was the league’s MVP in 1964 and was one of only three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda.
Maybe it’s the ćevapi, or the souvlaki, or the mbanga soup. Whatever it is, there’s no denying the tinge of international flavor when it comes to the NBA elite with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic winning the league’s MVP award for a second straight season Wednesday. Jokic made it four straight MVPs for foreign-born players. The Serbian big man beat out two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid of Cameroon to mark another first — never before have the top three in MVP voting all been internationals. Antetokounmpo won the award in 2019 and 2020.
USA Today sports writer/columnist Jarrett Bell has won the Bill Nunn Jr. Award for journalistic contributions while covering pro football. Bell, who has covered the NFL since 1981 and has been with USA Today since 1993, was selected by the Professional Football Writers of America. He is the 54th award winner and the first Black journalist to receive the honor for a long and distinguished career covering the sport. The award is named for Nunn, who before his Hall of Fame scouting career with the Pittsburgh Steelers worked for 22 years at the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the most influential Black publications in the United States.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali has been cleared of sexual misconduct following a criminal trial in Boston. A Boston Municipal Court judge found him not guilty Tuesday after a two-day trial in which the chef had waived his right to a jury trial. A woman had accused Batali of forcibly kissing and groping her while taking a selfie at a restaurant in 2017. But Batali’s lawyer argued the accuser had a financial incentive to lie. Batali faced up to 2 1/2 years in prison if convicted. The 61-year-old former Food Network fixture's career crumbled amid sexual misconduct allegations from four women in 2017.
The NFL game on Christmas Day between the Broncos and Rams will be broadcast by Nickelodeon. The network, which previously televised two playoff games, and CBS will handle TV duties on Dec. 25 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The Super Bowl champion Rams will host the game, which also will be streamed by Paramount+. Nickelodeon has had success with its youth-oriented telecasts during wild-card weekend alongside the NFL broadcast on CBS. This season, that collaboration will shift to the regular season and Christmas Day. It’s expected to be part of a holiday tripleheader.
Tom Brady will join Fox Sports as a football announcer when his playing career ends. That announcement was made Tuesday by Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch on an investor call. Brady had announced his retirement at the end of last season, but later renounced it and said he was going to play at least another season as the Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback. Signing the seven-time Super Bowl champion was a coup for Fox after its top football announcing team, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, recently left for ESPN. Murdoch says it's up to Brady when he decides to retire.
A woman who accused Mario Batali of kissing and groping her while attempting to take a selfie has testified in the celebrity chef’s sexual misconduct trial in Boston. The 32-year-old woman said Monday she’d felt confused, powerless and embarrassed to share her story until other women stepped forward to share similar encounters with Batali. But Batali’s lawyer argued the assault never happened and that the accuser has a financial incentive to lie. He also argued the accuser isn’t a credible witness. Batali on Monday waived his right to a jury trial and opted instead to have a judge decide his fate. The trial resumes Tuesday.
“A Strange Loop,” Michael R. Jackson’s critically cheered theater meta-journey earned a leading 11 Tony Award nominations Monday as Broadway joined the national discussion of race by embracing an envelope-pushing Black-written and Black-led musical. Jackson’s 2020 Pulitzer Prize drama winner about a Black gay man writing a show about a Black gay man earned nods for best musical, best leading man in newcomer Jaquel Spivey and best featured actress for L Morgan Lee, who becomes the first openly transgender performer to be nominated for a Tony Award. Jackson says he had “hoped” his "collaborators would be acknowledged.'' Right behind “A Strange Loop” is a tie with 10 nominations each for “MJ” and “Paradise Square.”