Live from Beverly Hills -- it's Saturday Night! - TCA report
A Q&A panel at TCA isn't complete unless a star or two is asked about his/her personal life -- either directly or indirectly. Andy Samberg deftly deflected an inquiry about his being associated romantically with ex-SNL host Natalie Portman.
Then, it was on to questions about the show...
SNL's top honcho Lorne Michaels was asked if he planned on actively seeking minority players to join the show's cast?
"We'll hold auditions in August like we normally do," Michaels replied. "If there are really good people, we'll have them."
Did the SNL gang watch Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin's critically acclaimed, but low-rated drama set backstage at an an SNL type show?
After a long silence, head writer Seth Meyers offers, "We were busy in the fall."
Of any perceived tension between the variety and drama shows, Michaels says, "It was a bigger thing in the media."
Will all of last season's cast members be back next season? Cast members Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Jason Sudeikis are absent from today's panel?
"As far as I know, [they'll all be back]," says Michaels, adding with a quip, "And I guess I'd be the one who knows. I'm trying to get Maya back. It'll be her decision."
Were there any shocks on SNL over the years? "Sinead O'Connor tearing up a picture of the Pope," Michaels recalls. "Mostly, it's been shocks on the positive side."
The dry-witted Michaels seems comfortable on stage and he has appeared in sketches on the show over the years, but he passed on NBC's offer to feature him in a reality show that would find the next SNL contract player a while back. "I wouldn't have been comfortable in [a role like that like Donald Trump is in The Apprentice]," Michaels says.
Does the exec ever think of retiring? "No," he says. "SNL is a show that once it stops...there will never be [another one like it]. It's really from another time of network television. It's a tribute to NBC that it's still on the air."