“Saturday Night Live” plans to add one or two black female performers to its cast as soon as January.
A representative for the NBC sketch-comedy show on Thursday confirmed reports it’s answering complaints about its lack of diversity by staging showcases to choose at least one black female cast member and to hire her within weeks. In recent weeks, the show has seen two dozen candidates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
Criticism for the show’s lack of diversity was spurred this fall by its only black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson. Thompson voiced weariness at being obliged to play black female characters in drag. Pharoah lobbied for the addition of a specific comic, Darmirra Brunson, of the OWN sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.”
“SNL” has had just four black women in its regular troupe since premiering in 1975, with the last one, biracial Maya Rudolph, leaving in 2007.
Barker, 90, visits ‘Price is Right’
Bob Barker’s 90th birthday present was urging one more contestant to “come on down” from the audience on “The Price Is Right.”
The veteran game-show host, at the helm of “The Price Is Right” from 1972 to 2007, was invited back by current host Drew Carey on Thursday to celebrate the milestone birthday.
He moved a little more slowly, and his microphone was a little thicker, but Barker fell right back into the groove. The audience gave him a standing ovation, and he joined with Carey in encouraging viewers to spay or neuter their pets – Barker’s longtime cause.
To the reception, Barker said, “You folks appreciate the fact that it has taken me a long time to become 90.”
Price gets hospice care for cancer
Entering what his wife calls his “final days,” country music star Ray Price is ending all aggressive treatment for his pancreatic cancer and left an East Texas hospital Thursday to begin receiving hospice care at home.
Price was discharged from the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he had been in and out in recent months as he was treated for the cancer and its complications, according to a hospital statement. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and it has recently spread to his liver, intestines and now his lungs, the hospital said.
The 87-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame laureate will stay at his ranch near Mount Pleasant, Texas, about 60 miles north of Tyler.
Price began his career in the 1950s as a honkytonk singer with such hits as “Crazy Arms” and “Heartaches by the Number.” Later, he moved in a pop direction with orchestration on hits such as “Danny Boy” and “For the Good Times.” He performed his last show in May.
The birthday bunch
Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 88. Actor Christopher Plummer is 84. Singer John Davidson is 72. Singer Ted Nugent is 65. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 65. Actor Steve Buscemi is 56. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 46. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 32. Country singer Taylor Swift is 24.