x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Fans fear exit of Wiig, Sudeikis and Samberg from Saturday Night Live

Plus: Catching Fire needs a new director, Eva Longoria headed for Washington, Community star Chevy Chase criticises show again and The Simpsons location inspiration is revealed.

From left, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg.
From left, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg.

The popular American weekly comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live, which has been broadcast since 1975 and is produced live from New York City every Saturday night, has been on an upswing with one of the strongest casts in years, but that could all change if three of its most popular performers leave, reports MTV.com. While Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg are all rumoured to be considering it, only Wiig – now the show's biggest star since the success of her film Bridesmaids last year – has addressed the possibility publicly. "I don't know," said Wiig, responding to a question from the actor Alec Baldwin on his podcast on Monday. "Everyone has to leave ... and I will say that when I do leave, it's not because I'm sick of it and not because I see something better or anything like that. It's just that it's time. When I do leave, it will be the hardest thing."

Catching Fire needs a new director

The makers of The Hunger Games trilogy will have to find a new director for the second instalment of the series, Catching Fire, after a statement from the first film's director Gary Ross saying he is backing out, CBS News reported. Ross said while he enjoyed making the blockbuster first film for the US firm Lionsgate, the production schedule was too tight to properly write and prepare the sequel, based on the second in a series of books by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Laurence, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson, is still in cinemas; Catching Fire is due out in November next year.

Eva Longoria headed for Washington, DC

The 37-year-old actress is trading Wisteria Lane for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after being named a national co-chairwoman for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in February, bidding farewell to her sassy, model-turned-housewife character Gabrielle Solis on the ABC drama Desperate Housewives in the May 13 finale. But making the leap from the domestic affairs of Housewives to a national political campaign hasn't been an easy transition, with Longoria struggling to be taken seriously.

"People go, 'Who cares about your opinion, you're just pretty'," Longoria said. "And it's like, 'Why can't I have an intellectual argument about immigration or health care reform just because I'm pretty?'"

Community star Chevy Chase criticises show again

A second voicemail message from Chevy Chase leaked online this week continues to depict a deep rift between the veteran comedian and the creators of his ratings-challenged NBC sitcom Community.

The show's creator, Dan Harmon, played voicemails from Chase at a Los Angeles comedy show last year. They have since found their way on to the internet, including a recording released on Tuesday by Celebuzz.com. In the voicemail, Chase calls Community a "mediocre sitcom" that "is not my kind of comedy".

The 68-year-old Fletch and National Lampoons star was initially meant to be the most familiar face on the show, which has generally found critical acclaim and a cult following. But the airing of such squabbles adds another challenge to Community, which had its current third season delayed to midseason by NBC, and which faces an uphill battle for renewal.

The Simpsons location inspiration is revealed

One of the best-kept secrets in television history has been revealed, with The Simpsons creator Matt Groening pointing to Springfield, Oregon, as the inspiration for the animated hometown of Homer and his dysfunctional family. Groening told Smithsonian magazine, published online on Tuesday, that he was inspired by the television show Father Knows Best, which took place in a place called Springfield. Springfield, Oregon, is 160 kilometres south of Groening's hometown of Portland.

"When I grew up, I realised it was just a fictitious name," Groening told the magazine. "I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the US."

Hollywood acting coach in Dubai

Christopher Biewer, a Hollywood acting coach, will conduct a five-day intensive workshop at the Miranda Davidson Studio in Dubai from April 18 to 22 to give aspiring actors the chance to learn improvisation.

Students will learn improvisation techniques to improve their acting for film, television and theatre, as well as the common basics of improv comedy from the specialist tutor, who has coached actors such as Zoe Bell – the star of several Quentin Tarantino films, including Death Proof, Kill Bill 1 and Kill Bill 2.

Biewer has performed improv for more than 14 years. He has also performed in sketches written by Steve Carrell.

There are limited spaces available and these will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. To register for these workshops, which cost Dh2,000, contact Miranda Davidson at miranda@mirandadavidsonstudios.com or call 050 850 9443.