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Last Update on September 19, 2014 07:07 GMT

DARRELL HAMMOND TO TAKE OVER SNL ANNOUNCER'S ROLE FOR LATE DON PARDO

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's a new gig -- and an old one -- for Darrell Hammond. The former "Saturday Night Live" cast member is now the show's new announcer, taking over the job Don Pardo had until he died earlier this year. Hammond says his goal is to get viewers to recall Pardo's voice -- without doing an impersonation of it. That wasn't the approach Hammond took some years ago -- when he occasionally filled in for Pardo. Hammond went behind the mic six times when Pardo couldn't go. NBC didn't announce the replacement -- and few people figured it out. Hammond is already the longest-running cast member of SNL. And he suggests his role may get even larger. He says he doesn't know if he will revive his impersonation of former president Bill Clinton -- should his wife Hillary decide to run for president.

AP Entertainment Editor Oscar Wells Gabriel reports Darrell Hammond will be the new announcer for NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

<<CUT ..003 (09/19/14)>> 00:46 ""

Archive audio

Sound of the opening theme for "Saturday Night Live."

KEVIN SPACEY-CYBERSTALKING

BOSTON (AP) -- A Massachusetts woman who pleaded guilty to stalking Kevin Spacey will get some time behind bars for her trouble -- and have to cough up a huge chunk of change as a result. Linda Louise Culkin of Quincy was sentenced yesterday to more than four years in prison -- and must pay Spacey $124,000 for bodyguards he brought on because of the stalking. Prosecutors say she took part in a "persistent and malevolent" cyberstalking pattern. She claims she's mentally ill.

CHER-DANCERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Is Cher a racist? That's what three backup dancers are suggesting in a lawsuit. The singers claim that Cher complained her "Dressed to Kill" tour had "too much color" -- and told the choreographer not to hire any more dark-skinned dancers. Choreographer Kevin Wilson -- who is black and danced in the tour -- was fired in July. A second black dancer claims she was let go -- also for racial reasons. A publicist for Cher says the accusations against the veteran performer are "ridiculous" and "couldn't be further from the truth." The lawsuit seeks more than $10 million in damages. Cher had to postpone three weeks of shows because of a viral infection earlier this month.

Three backup dancers are suing Cher. The AP's Jamie Friar reports the dancers charge racial and age discrimination

<<CUT ..008 (09/19/14)>> 00:30 ""

Excerpt of Cher

Excerpt of Cher, performing "Believe."

<<CUT ..009 (09/19/14)>> 00:35 ""

Excerpt of Cher

Excerpt of Cher performing "If I Could Turn Back Time."

NICKI MINAJ-WIG SUIT

ATLANTA (AP) -- Hair today -- gone tomorrow. A federal judge in Atlanta has yanked off a lawsuit filed against Nicki Minaj. The suit was laid down by the rapper's former wig designer. Terrence Davidson sued Minaj and her company for, among other things, flipping out on launching a reality TV show and a wig line. The suit also claims Minaj swiped his design for hairpieces. Lawyers for Minaj filed a motion to dismiss, claiming the suit's roots weren't solid in that the plaintiff failed to state a viable claims. The judge agreed -- and shook the case out of court.

DOWNTON ABBEY-NEW SEASON IN U.K.

LONDON (AP) -- The good news for "Downton Abbey" fans: the show's new season begins this weekend. The not-so-good news: it will be January before the season begins airing in the U.S. It airs in the U.K. first. Not to cough up any spoiler alerts, but the members of the cast say the tough economic times are starting to take their toll. Elizabeth McGovern says "all of the characters are adjusting to a changing world" -- with some being more successful at doing so than others.

Elizabeth McGovern says the economic crisis is putting a strain on her character's marriage. ((Note length of cut))

JOAN RIVERS-COOKBOOK

NEW YORK (AP) -- "What does a Jewish woman make for dinner? Reservations." If you thought that sounds like a joke Joan Rivers would tell -- you'd be right. It's one of several the late comedian agreed to contribute to a book about Jewish food. Her brand of comedy is featured in "Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food." The book is due out in December and features foodie memories from people like Don Rickles and Itzhak Perlman. Rivers died earlier this month a week after suffering cardiac arrest during a medical procedure at a New York City outpatient surgery center.

MICHAEL SHEEN-MASTERS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Michael Sheen says it's easier playing Dr. Williams Masters on "Masters of Sex" than it is playing other real, but more famous people like British Prime Minister Tony Blair or TV interviewer David Frost. Sheen says he feels more freedom in playing Masters because --"very little is known about" his inner life.

Rewind Time

September 20, 2014 07:06 GMT

Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

On this date:

In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.

In 1884, the National Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco; the convention nominated Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood for president.

In 1911, the British liner RMS Olympic collided with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight; although seriously damaged, the Olympic was able to return to Southampton under its own power.

In 1947, former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia died.

In 1954, the live TV drama "Twelve Angry Men" was presented on CBS' "Westinghouse Studio One" anthology series, with Robert Cummings playing the lone holdout juror later portrayed by Henry Fonda in the 1957 movie version.

In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when Izola Curry stabbed him in the chest. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent.)

In 1962, James Meredith, a black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Democratic Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)

In 1964, The Beatles concluded their first full-fledged U.S. tour by performing in a charity concert at the Paramount Theater in New York.

In 1973, in their so-called "battle of the sexes," tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.

In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing at least 14 people, including two Americans and 12 Lebanese. The family sitcoms "The Cosby Show" and "Who's the Boss?" premiered on NBC and ABC, respectively.

In 1994, Broadway composer Jule (JOO'-lee) Styne died in New York at age 88.

In 1999, Lawrence Russell Brewer became the second white supremacist to be convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas. (Brewer was executed on September 21, 2011.) Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died at a German hospital after a battle with leukemia; she was 67.

Ten years ago: CBS News apologized for a "mistake in judgment" in its story questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard service, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of documents featured in the report. A militant video posted on a Web site showed the beheading of a man identified as American civil engineer Eugene Armstrong, who had been abducted in Iraq.

Five years ago: Blanketing most of the Sunday TV news shows, President Barack Obama said requiring people to get health insurance and fining them if they didn't would not amount to a backhanded tax increase. At the Emmy Awards, best drama and comedy series trophies went to repeat winners "Mad Men" and "30 Rock." The first game at the Cowboys Stadium set an NFL regular-season attendance record with a crowd of 105,121, and most of them went home disappointed after the New York Giants won, 33-31.

One year ago: Charting a collision course with the White House, the Republican-controlled House approved, 230-189, legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown while also defunding President Barack Obama's 3-year-old health care law. (The Democratic-led Senate rebuffed the House's attempts to roll back the health care law; the partial government shutdown began Oct. 1 with the start of the fiscal new year).

Today's Birthdays: Singer Gogi Grant is 90. Actress-comedian Anne Meara is 85. Actress Sophia Loren is 80. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor is 79. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 67. Actor Tony Denison is 65. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur is 63. Actress Debbi Morgan is 63. Jazz musician Peter White is 60. Actress Betsy Brantley is 59. Actor Gary Cole is 58. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 54. Country-rock musician Joseph Shreve (Flynnville Train) is 53. Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 50. Actress Kristen Johnston is 47. Rock singers Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson are 47. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 46. Actress-model Moon Bloodgood is 39. Actor Jon Bernthal is 38. Singer The Dream is 37. Actor Charlie Weber is 36. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (WOOL'-sten-hyoolm) (Lifehouse) is 35. Actress Crystle Stewart is 33. Rapper Yung Joc is 32. Actor Aldis Hodge is 28.

Thought for Today: "Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." -- George Washington Carver, American botanist (1864-1943).

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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