Martin off ‘Leno’ gig

Comedian Martin Lawrence’s use of coarse material while guest-hosting “Saturday Night Live” has caused NBC to cancel a scheduled appearance by the comic on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

An NBC spokeswoman confirmed the decision, saying that after the “SNL” flap, network officials “feel it’s inappropriate for him to be on any of our shows.”

Lawrence — whose Miramax-released concert movie “You So Crazy” received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America — was scheduled to ap-pear on the NBC latenight series March 9.

NBC, West Coast prexy Don Ohlmeyer on Friday issued the mandate to drop Lawrence, relaying the decision to “Tonight” producers Debbie Vickers and Bill Royce as well as host Jay Leno, who, citing free speech concerns, reluctantly agreed. “The Tonight Show” is produced by NBC Prods.

A day earlier, Ohlmeyer sent a letter of apology to affiliates regarding the “SNL” episode, promising that the program “will not be repeated on the NBC network, even in an edited form.”

The note went on to say that the network is “exploring alternatives for safeguarding against ad-libbed comments without taking away from the ‘live’ nature of the show.” Ohlmeyer didn’t elaborate, but “SNL” has aired on a seven-second delay to provide the option of eliminating material before it reaches viewers.

NBC received nearly 200 phone calls about Lawrence’s opening monologue when he hosted “SNL” Feb. 19. His routine included comments about oral sex, yeast infections and the John Wayne Bobbitt case that were heard in Eastern and Central time zones but bleeped out during later West Coast feeds.

Also, sources say at least two small-market NBC affiliates threatened to stop carrying the long-running latenight series.

A publicist for Lawrence said she was unaware of any plans to cancel his “Tonight” date.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety