Television

Mike Hulsebus
Courtesy of Bravo
Mike Hulsebus
Courtesy of lupefiasco.com

As if “Saturday Night Live” weren’t in bad enough shape as it is, cast members Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz and Finesse Mitchell have been dropped from the show following a flurry of rumors this month. No announcement was made about the trio’s departure – their names were simply omitted from a recent press release. Joining the SNL exodus are Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch, who both announced over the summer that they would be leaving the show. Parnell was a cast member for seven and a half years, Sanz for eight years and Mitchell for three years.

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Dustin Diamond, the lovable Samuel “Screech” Powers of late-’80s and early ’90s sitcom “Saved By The Bell,” is rumored to have his very own sex tape. After telling Howard Stern listeners that he packs nine inches of punch in his pants, Diamond now has the opportunity to prove it to skeptics. Although Screech’s manager denied knowledge of the film, he did note that this would help Diamond shed his Screech typecast and help the struggling comedian/actor get more bookings. What title should eager fans scan local video store shelves for? You’ve got it: “Saved By The Smell.”

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The politics of the Middle East and Sept. 11 are still making money in Hollywood. Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon will star in “Rendition,” New Line’s political thriller set in the Middle East. The story focuses on a CIA analyst based in the Middle East who questions his assignment after he oversees a secret police interrogation of a suspected terrorist. Similar projects set in the Middle East, both related to slain journalist Daniel Pearl, are currently in production: Paramount Vantage’s “A Mighty Heart” starring Angelina Jolie and a Beacon thriller based on the book “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” by Bernard-Henri Levy.

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Torah tattoos. Kicked drug addictions. Cheating? Jeffrey Sebelia of Bravo TV’s “Project Runway” was recently accused of cheating on one of the contestants’ challenges. Despite having appeared frazzled and behind schedule during a judge’s check-in mid-challenge, Sebelia claimed to have eked out an impressively well-sewn line. Fellow contestant Laura Bennett was the first to throw accusations at Sebelia, whose work typically strays from his recent sewing caliber. The scandal is perfect fodder for an epic finale.

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It has been more than three weeks since the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. While filming a documentary, Irwin, 44, was impaled through the heart by a bull stingray. Despite the international love for Irwin, there has been some controversy since his passing. In the past Irwin had claimed that should he die on the job he would want the footage of his death to be released; however, only a handful may be privileged enough to view the video. Irwin’s wife, Terri, and manager, John Stainton, believe the tape should be kept private if not completely destroyed.

Video games

The video game market is as fertile as ever, and now it seems that some of the industry’s most talented rappers have caught on to the trend. The 2K Sports video game franchise released NBA 2K7 on Tuesday, and while the game itself has gotten mixed reviews, a surprisingly slamming soundtrack accompanies the game play. Artists like Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface, A Tribe Called Quest, Rhymefest, E-40 and Mos Def all contributed tracks. The all-star lineup doesn’t end with the soundtrack’s artists, either. Dan “the Automator” Nakamura, of Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz fame, produced the soundtrack, which includes a remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Lyrics to Go.”

Microsoft made the claim that Xbox 360 will be the most important gaming platform for the next five years in Barcelona yesterday. It was also announced that Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, producers of the upcoming “Halo” movie, are starting up a Microsoft-backed interactive-entertainment studio called Wingnut Interactive that will develop a “Halo” project as well as other titles that won’t be games or movies, but some sort of hybrid. Other new Xbox 360 titles announced included sequels to “Project Gotham Racing,” “Banjo Kazooie” and a “Marvel Universe Online” multiplayer game.

– Compiled by Caitlin Cowan, Rachel Common and Elie Zwiebel.

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