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Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' return gives show best ratings in two years

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NBC/Will Heath(NEW YORK) — Eddie Murphy’s long-awaited — and hilarious — return to Saturday Night Live scored the long-running sketch show’s highest ratings since May 2017.

Murphy’s trip back to Studio 8H — nearly 35 years to the day after his final appearance on the show — attracted more than 9.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen numbers collected by The Hollywood Reporter.

The episode, which featured white-hot singer Lizzo as the musical guest, saw Murphy joined during his monologue by fellow African-American comedy idols and former SNL stars Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan, as well as Dave Chappelle.  

“Right now you’re looking at half of Netflix’s budget,” joked Murphy, referring to the big bucks shelled out by the streaming service not just for his forthcoming return to stand-up, but specials fronted by Rock and Chappelle.

“Not me! Not me,” Tracy said. “I made all my millions on the road.” 

You mean touring?” Eddie asked.

“No, I got hit by a truck,” Morgan replied, referring to the settlement he received from the fatal truck accident that nearly killed him.

The episode also featured Murphy revisiting many of his classic SNL characters, including Mister Robinson, Gumby and Velvet Jones.  

Murphy currently can be seen on Netflix in the acclaimed comedy Dolemite Is My Name.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson gets into the ice cream business

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ABC/Randy Holmes(PORTLAND) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a new business venture: The Jumanji star took to Instagram to announce his company has taken an ownership stake in Salt and Straw ice cream.

As previously reported, the Portland-based boutique ice cream shop comes up with famous concoctions like its Thanksgiving ice cream line — and yes, its Salted Caramel Thankgiving Turkey flavor does actually contain turkey. However, The Rock is turning Santa Claus for the launch of his line.

He helped create two “naughty and nice” seasonal flavors along with founder Tyler Malek and team: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Dwanta Claus” and “The Rock’n Around the Christmas Tree.”

The first flavor is an “upgraded” version of a classic peanut butter cookie, with chocolate chip cookie dough and milk chocolate caramel fudge swirled into a rich whiskey ice cream base.

His second confection includes one of Johnson’s favorite “cheat day” treats: brownies.  It has a Pacific Northwest spruce ice cream base, buttery frosting, gooey brownies and is decorated with raspberry jam and glacé cherries, similar to that of a classic fruitcake.

The other three flavors in the Dwanta Holiday Pack — which costs $65 — include peppermint cocoa, vegan cinnamon chai-spiced eggnog and chocolate gooey brownie.

To make the holiday treat even sweeter, a portion of the proceeds of the pack will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

And bringing his two business ventures together, Johnson — who also owns Teremana Tequila — says a tequila-infused ice cream flavor is being planned.

 

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Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Carrie Fisher's brother Todd reveals letter he thinks she wrote from the great beyond

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ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — It’s been three years since the world bid goodbye to Carrie Fisher, however, family and friends continue to find new stories featuring her sharp wit — which has led them to believe she isn’t completely gone.

Most recently, her brother Todd unearthed an eerily prophetic letter she wrote about death, in which he revealed that he found in mom Debbie Reynolds’ desk drawer. Todd read it aloud to the New York Post, who posted it to Page Six.  

He doesn’t know exactly when his sister penned the letter and believes it even could be a message from a galaxy far, far away due to its nature.

The letter begins, “I am dead. How are you? I’ll see you soon … I would call and tell you what this is like, but there is no reception up here.”

True to her brand of humor, the letter continues, “Cut. New scene, new setup, new heavenly location. I have finally got the part that I have been rehearsing for all my life. God gave me the part. This is the end of the road I have been touring on all my life.”

Todd said the discovery “blew my mind” because he recently attended the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere, his sister’s final film.  “I cried,” he told the Post. “Carrie is the heart and soul of the storyline.”

Carrie died of a heart attack in December 2016.

Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bill Cosby blasts Eddie Murphy's "disparaging remarks" during 'SNL' monologue

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Will Heath/NBC(NEW YORK) — Eddie Murphy used his first appearance on Saturday Night Live in 35 years to roast disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, and on Sunday Cosby’s family clapped back.

During the opening monologue, Murphy, who welcomed his 10th child almost a year ago, said, “If you told me 30 years ago that I’d be this boring stay-at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have took that bet.”

Then, mimicking Cosby’s voice, the Dolemite Is My Name star added, “Who is America’s dad now?”

In a statement obtained by ABC, Andrew V. Wyatt, a rep for Cosby noted in part that “Mr. Cosby broke color barriers in the Entertainment Industry, so that Blacks like Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappell [sic], Kevin Hart and et al., could have an opportunity to showcase their talents for many generations to come. It is sad that Mr. Murphy would take this glorious moment of returning to SNL and make disparaging remarks against Mr. Cosby.”

“One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave,” the statement continued.

Added Wyatt, “Hopefully, you will be amenable to having a meeting of the minds conversation, in order to discuss how we can use our collective platforms to enhance Black people rather than bringing all of us down together.”

Murphy, in his 1987 standup film Raw, mentioned getting a call from Cosby in which Cosby berated him for cursing on stage, criticized his parenting skills and called him a bad role model to his kids.

Murphy was joined on stage by Chappelle, along with SNL alums Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan, and current SNL cast member Kenan Thompson.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hilary Duff secretly tied the knot with Matthew Koma over the weekend

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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — While the country gears up for the holidays, Hilary Duff and Matthew Koma have something else to celebrate. The two were wed in a ultra-private ceremony over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Younger star quietly posted a photo from her wedding, which took place during Saturday’s winter solstice, and simply captioned it, “This.”  Duff is all smiles wearing a stunning cream-colored wedding dress and cape alongside Koma, wearing a tailored navy tuxedo. 

The two are surrounded by blush-colored roses as they stand next to a vintage Jeep Grand Wagoneer with “Just Married” delicately written upon the rear windshield.  The two continued the vintage theme by tying empty soup cans with string to the bumper, which is also adorned with a gorgeous rose garland.

Duff posted snippets of her special day to her Instagram Stories, the first being a boomerang of little pond with swans in it, followed by a photo of her and Koma showing off their new rings in a mirror while sharing a happy kiss.

Koma, posting the same photo to his Instagram, also revealed the date of their ceremony by sweetly writing, “for the rest of forever… 12.21.19”

Fans and friends were quick to congratulate the happy couple.  Singer Bebe Rexha exclaimed “You guys are sooo cute” on Koma’s photo while Vanessa Lachey gushed on Duff’s, “Amaaaazzzzing! And WOW! Just WOW! Love you guys! And your Love!!!”

While details on the wedding are limited, People magazine spoke to a source close to the couple, who revealed, “The wedding was at her house. It was small and low-key. Only family and close friends.” 

The two were first linked in 2017 and welcomed a daughter in October 2018.  The Lizzie McGuire star broke the news of their engagement in a sweet Instagram announcement in May.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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