News Nuggets: ‘Saturday Night Live’ 40th anniversary sets 10-year ratings record for NBC

The heavily-hyped “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special on Sunday is now NBC’s highest rated entertainment event of the past 10 years. It drew 23.1 million viewers watching live and will grow more when adding in DVR watchers. The last non-Super Bowl event to bring in this type of ratings was when the comedy series “Friends” ended in 2004. Fans of the variety series saw many past favorites on the live special, including Dan Aykroyd, Dana Carvey, Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Will Forte, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Martin Short, and Kristen Wiig. TV Guide

The debut of “Fifty Shades of Grey” starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson far exceeds expectations with $94.4 million at the U.S. box office this weekend. That marks the biggest opening ever for the month of February. Another new release, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” starring Colin Firth, also overachieves with $42 million for the long weekend. Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper” now crosses over the $300 million mark for its entire run so far. Hollywood Reporter

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What were the seven “grimmest” moments from Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead“? Calling it a “punishing existential misery-parade,” an essay by Mark Lisanti has such topic starters as “A Grieving Maggie,” “A Bunch of Dead Frogs,” “The Wild Dog Cookout,” “The Great Zombie Shove-Off,” “Booze is Just Gonna Make Things Worse,” and “Rick’s Fireside Speech.” Grantland

Drake surprises fans with the unannounced release of “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” on Friday. The 17 tracks are called “his most consistently rewarding full-length yet,” and they are now available on iTunes. One of the first reviews says “he sounds as loose as he ever has been, coasting from amusingly specific complaints about women to an extended impassioned monologue directed at his mother.” Entertainment Weekly

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Conan O’Brien storms Cuba ahead of his other late night competitors. He and his “Conan” TBS crew have been shooting there this weekend since the U.S. embargo was lifted after 50 years. After his return, he tweeted a photo of him in an “Alec Guiness in ‘Our Man in Havana'” style. The episode will air on March 4. Deadline

Singer and songwriter Lesley Gore dies Monday at age 68. She burst onto the pop music charts in 1963 with the hit song “It’s My Party.” Other big hits included “That’s the Way Boys Are,” “She’s a Fool,” “Maybe I Know,” and “You Don’t Own Me.” She and her brother Michael were nominated for an Oscar in 1980 for the song “Out Here on My Own” in the film “Fame.” The Wrap

Actor Louis Jourdan dies Saturday at age 93 in his Beverly Hills home. He followed in the footsteps of other Frenchmen such as Maurice Chevalier and Charles Boyer when he first began his career. He is best know for the musical “Gigi” and as the villain in the James Bond film “Octopussy.” Variety

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