NBC Boss: SNL-Pepsi Deal Is a Taste of Things to Come

MacGruber/Pepsi Ad

NBC entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman is pursuing other partnerships like the one that turned a recurring Saturday Night Live character into a Super Bowl pitchman for Pepsi.

Of detractors who claim the Peacock blurred the line between programming and advertising with such a deal, Silverman contends, "Those are the same people who will be out of business" if they do not adapt during this difficult economy. He also tells that NBC is in talks with other potential partners about "finding [similar] ways to use our entertainment vehicles to help their brands."

The spots, which premiered on the eve of the Super Bowl (during SNL commercial breaks), show Will Forte's MacGruber ... read more

Idol Apologizes for Paula's "Threat"-ening Accusation in Louisville

Mark Mudd, American Idol

American Idol has issued a mea culpa to the audition city of Louisville, Ky., days after Paula Abdul accused a singer of threatening the judges with bodily harm when they vetoed his trip to Hollywood.

After failing to zap Simon & Co. with his take on "White Lightning," 25-year-old Mark Mudd muttered, "All right. Take care and be careful" as he began to exit the room. Paula Abdul, unfamiliar with the regional expression "Be careful," exclaimed from the dais, "What? Was that a threat? ... read more

ABC Boss Not Spooked by Grey's Anatomy "Ghost" Story

Katherine Heigl and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Grey's Anatomy

The final day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour kicked off with ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson tackling such tough subjects as the ever-changing broadcast business model, the fate of the three-camera comedy, and ... whether he 'ships Izzie-Dead Denny.

"Listen, the viewers will be the judge; that's the good and the bad of this business," McPherson said when asked for his take on the controversial Grey's Anatomy storyline. "I think that when you get to the end of the season, you'll see everything that [Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes] had in mind. It might not be your cup of tea, but I think you ... read more

NAACP: TV Still "Grossly" Under-represents Minorities

Dennis Haysbert, The Unit

Prime-time TV has a "serious shortage," of minority characters, the NAACP says in a new report, calling the problem part of an industry-wide oversight.

Says NAACP president/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, "At a time when the country is excited about the election of the first African-American president in U.S. history, it is unthinkable ... read more

Idol Boss: I'd Never Put a Dangerous Person in Front of Judges; Plus, Is Paula Leaving?

Ken Warwick, Paula Abdul

American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick has responded to Paula Abdul's recent comments and, in turn, the tragedy which recently befell a fan of Abdul's, stressing that he never would knowingly put a dangerous person in front of the judges.

Detailing the process by which wannabes are surveyed as they enter the early audition rounds, Warwick told reporters in a Monday conference call, "It's always been that if someone looked like they were a bit dangerous or led us to believe they weren't as sensible as they should be ... read more

SNL Slammed for Blindsiding Blind Governor of New York

Saturday Night Live

Neither New York Gov. David A. Paterson nor a leading organization for the blind see the humor in a Saturday Night Live segment sending up the visually impaired politician.

"I can take a joke," Paterson tells the New York Daily News. "But only 37 percent of disabled people are working, and I'm afraid that that kind of third-grade humor adds to [misconceptions]."

As depicted by Fred Armisen on this weekend's show, Paterson needed help ... read more

Former Idol Boss Disputes Abdul's Claim of Intentional Cruelty

Nigel Lythgoe

She said, now he said.

Former American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has denied Paula Abdul's claim that the show's execs purposely allowed Abdul's alleged longtime stalker, Paula Goodspeed, to audition for the judging panel during Season 5. Goodspeed was found dead of an apparent suicide near Abdul's home last month.

"You do not take somebody in that room that you believe is a danger to herself or a danger to Paula ... read more

Grey's Backstage Drama Update: T.R. Knight Wants Out

T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy

Say what you will about Grey's Anatomy's sex-with-ghosts on-screen drama, the never-ending backstage brouhahas sure are compelling, right?

Just weeks after the show suffered a black eye for cutting short Brooke Smith's run and the lesbian Erica Hahn storyline — and more than two years after Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington got the ball rolling with their infamous backstage row — a rumor made rounds on Monday evening claiming that original cast member T.R. Knight (aka George) hasn't attended table reads since this season's Episode 2, "is pissed and miserable," and "has quit." Come Tuesday, a new spin surfaced — that Knight has formally asked out of his contract.

Get all the latest developments after the jump. read more

NHL Star Sorry for Comments about Ex-Girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert

Sean Avery, Elisha Cuthbert

Hockey star Sean Avery has been skating on thin ice, and he knows it. The Dallas Stars player apologized Wednesday for comments he made about ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert (aka 24's Kim Bauer) that unleashed potential disciplinary action and a public reprimand.

"I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate," he said in a statement. "It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were."

His apology came on the heels of criticism for an interview he gave Dec. 2. "I love Canada," he began. "I just wanted to comment on how..." More, after the jump. read more

Isaiah Washington: Grey's Treatment of Brooke Smith Is "Disgusting"

Isaiah Washington

Who doesn't love a little irony?

Former Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington, who was publicly derided and ultimately fired from the series after making a homophobic slur at gay costar T.R. Knight, is now chiming in on the show's treatment of the recently axed Brooke Smith and her lesbian character.

See what Washington had to say after the jump. read more

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