Phelps, Fey help 'SNL' to strong start

With a surprise appearance by Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin in the opening and gold medalist Michael Phelps as guest host, "Saturday Night Live" logged its best season premiere since September 2001. Saturday's episode also was the most-watched "SNL" since Dec. 17, 2002, when former Vice President Al Gore was the guest host. "SNL" averaged a 7.4 household rating/18 share in the 55 metered markets, Nielsen Media Research said Sunday. The ratings don't include New Orleans or Houston following damage from Hurricane Ike.


"The Hills" star Lauren Conrad has inked a three-book deal with HarperCollins. The books will be based on her experiences in Hollywood. Conrad is repped by Max Stubblefield at UTA.

Kimmel in the 'Stars'

After his well-received primetime specials during ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals, the network's late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is going primetime again with another special. "Jimmy Kimmel's Big Night of Stars," featuring celebrity interviews, will air Sunday before ABC's broadcast of the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.