THE WEEK AHEAD: Janet Goes for Laughs

04/02/2004 01:00PM

How many boob jokes can fit into one night of programming? "Saturday Night Live" is about to find out, while PEOPLE looks at other pop-culture happenings in the coming week:

JANET GOES LIVE: Janet Jackson didn't have much of a sense of humor last week on David Letterman's "Late Show," so here's hoping she lightens up about her Super Bowl breast-baring incident in time for her Saturday, April 10 hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live." In fact, Jackson -- whose new disc, "Damita Jo," hit stores last week -- hasn't showed off her comedic abilities since starring in 2000's "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," so perhaps Horatio Sanz wearing a nipple ring will help stir things up.

UNSOLVED MYSTERY? There have been plenty of conspiracy theories since the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain on April 5, 1994. Now add one more to the list. On Monday, April 5, the 10-year anniversary of Cobain's suicide, publishing company Simon & Schuster will have a press conference in New York City to announce the "shocking new evidence" revealed in its new book, "Love and Death," written by Max Wallace and Ian Halperin. The writing team's 1998 book "Who Killed Kurt Cobain? The Mysterious Death of an Icon" explored rumors of a cover-up in the singer's death (including claims that Cobain may have planned to divorce Courtney Love), and the new tome allegedly has new evidence, including "tapes that reveal terrible secrets." Stay tuned.

SUNG LIKE HUNG: While most "American Idol" rejects fade away into karaoke-bar obscurity, William Hung -- the Hong Kong-born University of California, Berkeley engineering student who massacred Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" during his audition for the FOX show -- is still charging ahead. Hung will release his debut album, "Inspiration," on the independent label Koch Records on Tuesday, April 6. The 14-track CD will include covers of some of his favorite artists (including R. Kelly and Enrique Iglesias), as well as an original tune co-written by Hung ("Free"). Also included on the disc: inspirational thoughts from Hung and a limited-edition bonus DVD featuring interviews with Hung. As if that wasn't enough, the Fuse music network also will air a half-hour special, "Idol Worship: The William Hung Story."

LOVE, NFL-STYLE: The new season of ABC's "The Bachelor" premieres on Wednesday, April 7, and this time around, Mr. Right is Jesse Palmer, a baby-faced 26-year-old New York Giants quarterback who's looking for love. His NFL stats aren't spectacular (he's had three starts, all of them losses), but Palmer sounds like he might have scored on the reality series. "I did meet somebody very special," he hinted to PEOPLE. Though contestants didn't initially know Palmer's profession, they all soon found out. And this latest installment offers a twist: One of the show's 25 contestants was actually a close friend of Palmer's who reports back to him on whether the ladies were in it for love or TV time.

AND FINALLY... Need another dose of TV's cutest newlyweds? You're in luck. On Sunday, April 11 Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey star in "The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour" on ABC. Just like the glory days of "The Sonny and Cher Show," this one-hour special will feature music performances, comedy sketches and guest stars including Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Kenny Rogers (!) and Jewel. No variety special is complete without Mr. T, Miss Piggy and baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, who also will make appearances.

MORE ON: Janet Jackson

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