This Was Television On October 23

2004: Ashlee Simpson stumbles on SNL

The pop singer became the first musical guest in the history of Saturday Night Live to exit the stage prematurely when a technical error exposed her lip-synching. As Simpson began her second performance, intended to be the song “Autobiography,” a tape deck played the lyrics to “Pieces of Me,” which she had sung earlier in the show. Simpson hurried off stage and apologize for the incident during the episode’s coda, but was not spared a round of criticism and mockery in the ensuing days. 

Producer Lorne Michaels was reportedly upset by the incident. He expressed great displeasure that someone could besmirch the high standards of professionalism for which Saturday Night Live was known, shortly before green-lighting a $150 million film trilogy based on Chris Kattan’s Mango character. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Stanley Anderson, character actor (73); Michelle Beadle, sportscaster (37); Johnny Carson, king of late night (d. 2005); James Daly, doctor (d. 1978); Cat Deeley, dance emcee (36); Coleen Gray, character actress (90); Ryan Reynolds, pizza place proprietor (36); Hayden Rorke, colonel (d. 1987); Frank Sutton, gunnery sergeant (d. 1974); “Weird” Al Yankovic, parodist (53). 

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