News Column

Bill Hader Moves on From 'SNL'

May 15, 2013

YellowBrix

Tulsa's Bill Hader is moving on from "Saturday Night Live."

Hader's final episode will be the season finale airing Saturday, thewrap.com reported Tuesday. The show will be losing its "man of a thousand voices and an inability to keep a straight face," according to the report.

"It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point," Hader said in a New York Times interview. "It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it's just time to go.' "

A Cascia Hall graduate, Hader, 34, joined the live comedy sketch show as a featured performer in 2005 and became a cast member in 2006. He was nominated for an Emmy as supporting actor in a comedy series last year.

Hader has also appeared in "Superbad," "Tropic Thunder" and "Men in Black 3." He has also voiced numerous roles in animated films.

At first look, his talent reminded "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels of former "SNL" stars like Dan Aykroyd, he told the newspaper in a phone interview.

"In terms of intelligence and talent, he was in that same tradition," Michaels said in the article.

"He was so completely committed to the art of it and enough a student of it that there's something strikingly original. He didn't explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing."

Hader's contract with the show reportedly expired last year, but he agreed to stay one more season. He informed Michaels in February of his plan to leave.

He said his decision was partially motivated by the decisions made by "SNL" friends and castmates Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig to leave the show, according to the newspaper. He also plans to move his family to Los Angeles where his other projects and his wife Maggie Carrey's filmmaking career are in full swing.

She wrote and directed the upcoming comedy "The To Do List," and she and Hader are also executive producers of the film. He has also worked on three live-action features and four animated films during this season of the sketch show.

"SNL" airs at 10:29 p.m. Saturday on NBC, channel 2, cable 9. Ben Affleck will be the host for the season finale.

PBS sets 'Downton Abbey' season 4 premiere date

PBS has set Jan. 5 for the return of its hit drama series "Downton Abbey."

The date was announced by "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton on Tuesday at PBS' annual meeting, reports deadline.com. The period drama will run for eight weeks through Feb. 23.

"Downton" has proved to be the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Its third season finale drew an estimated 8.2 million viewers.

The series will most likely again debut in September in England and presumably complete its season there before it debuts in the United States.

Shirley MacLaine will return to the cast as Martha Levinson. Several new actors will be introduced, including the show's first black character, a jazz singer played by Gary Carr, and opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, according to the website.

They join cast regulars Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle.

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