Just when Lorne Michaels was starting to utilize the underused featured player Paul Brittain the comedian decided to part ways with Saturday Night Live. EW scooped that he left the show “effective immediately” as of January 31. A source close to Brittain spilled to EW that “he had the opportunity to pursue other projects, and he and the show parted ways amicably.” And so when you tune into tonight’s new episode of SNL you won’t be surprised when the opening title sequence doesn’t look Brittain freely riding his bike in the Big Apple. But don’t mourn the loss of talent; instead celebrate Brittain’s contributions. After the break you’ll find hilarious installments of his original characters “Sex Ed” and Lord Wyndemere.
In an email to company employees, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie will be leaving the company after an unspecified transition period. Ozzie joined the company in 2005 when Microsoft aquired his Groove Networks. In June 2006 he was named Chief Software Architect, filling the position former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had occupied before he left the company. Ozzie is well known for his work in the cloud, and in the company letter Ballmer commends him for ”position[ing] [Microsoft] well for future success.”
As a company, we’ve accomplished much in the past five years as we look at the cloud and services. Windows Live now serves as a natural web-based services complement to both Windows and Office. SharePoint and Exchange have now decidedly embraced the cloud. And by conceiving, incubating and shepherding Windows Azure, Ray helped ensure we have a tremendously rich platform foundation that will enable app-level innovation across the company and by customers for years to come.
Ozzie’s reason for departure is undisclosed, and Microsoft has no plans to fill the “unique” CSA role. Click the source link to read the letter in full.
When you tune into the premiere of Conan on November 8, don’t expect to see Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7 stage left. The famed Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drummer will not be joining Conan’s move to TBS for reasons undisclosed. Guitarist and keyboardist Jimmy Vivino will be taking over as bandleader. You will recognize him since he’s been part of the Late Night and the short-lived The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien house band for some time now. James Wormworth, the barefoot drummer who would take Weinberg’s place when he’d be absent and on tour with Springsteen, will permanently become the new drummer. Max Weinberg, it’s been a real pleasure.
Last night FOX released a press statement informing American Idol fans that judge Kara DioGuardi is leaving the show. DioGuardi says: ”I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave Idol. I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol — it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, as well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!” AI creator and executive producer Simon Fuller shared his sentiments on the matter: “Kara is one of the world’s best songwriters. She has been passionate and committed to Idol over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come.”
DioGuardi is the third judge to leave the show prior to the start of the tenth season. Simon Cowell bid farewell last season and Ellen DeGeneres departed in July. Randy Jackson remains the last dawg standing. The latest reports pin Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as likely replacements. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe publically stated that he wishes for the show to return to a three-person judges panel. Season 10 premieres in January 2011, so it’s just a matter of time before we are informed about the new slate of judges.
You read that right, folks. At the end of the upcoming seventh season of NBC’s The Office star Steve Carell will leave his post as moronic boss Michael Scott. His contract is up next season and he simply wants to spend more time with his family. In his words: “I just think it’s time. I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.” With Michael Scott of out the picture, can the show still go on? According to Carell the answer is a resounding yes. “It doesn’t certainly mean the end of the show. I think it’s just a dynamic change to the show, which could be a good thing, actually. Add some new life and some new energy…I see it as a positive in general for the show.” When news broke of his potential exit from the show, he quickly became a trending topic on Twitter; fans were pretty upset. Carell addressed the reaction, too. “I didn’t see it as a huge thing and I certainly didn’t anticipate any sort of hubbub over it. I’m just not going to extend my contract, but I didn’t see it as a huge deal. And the show is great, and the ensemble is so strong, and the writers are great, so it’s just one part of that ensemble drifting off. They’ve incorporated so many new characters and so many new, great storylines that I have no doubt it’ll continue as strong if not stronger than ever.” While that is likely true, the show will not be the same with Carell absent. Though negociations are still open for debate, it certainly seems like Carell is ready to call it quits. And that’s what she said.
This season of American Idol will be the last for judge Simon Cowell. He is leaving because he plans to bring a version of the British hit show The X Factor to the US. (The X Factoris the show that jumpstarted Leona Lewis’ career.) Cowell noted that there was discussion to work on both shows at the same time but ultimately it wouldn’t work out. Cowell will serve as both executive producer and judge on The X Factor in the States. For those of you who think the two shows are very similar Cowell points out that “the auditions are done in quite a different way.” Auditions are held in large auditoriums “that fill 2000 or 3000 people” and are broadcasted live with a backing track. Also, the age requirements are different; you must be at least 14 years old to audition and there is no age limit. The X Factor will premiere on FOX in fall 2011.
Now the question remains–who will fill Cowell’s shoes at American Idol? Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul, that was easy. It’s going to be difficult to replace Cowell; he is the face of the show and a big contributor to its iconic stardom. FOX reps say they will find a replacement sometime in 2011 in time for season ten. Cowell on his departure: “[I am] confident [Idol] will continue to be the number one show. You want to leave on a high. I’m very proud of what the show has achieved. It’s been a fantastic time. I think America needs a second show. A different show. I’m going to put my heart and soul into this [The X Factor].”