'SNL' adds black women as writers

LOS ANGELES - "Saturday Night" is expanding its ethnic diversity off-screen as well as on.

A network spokeswoman, Lauren Roseman, said Wednesday that NBC's comic institution is adding two black women to its writing staff.

The move follows the addition of an African-American woman, comedian Sasheer Zamata, to the show's cast.

The hiring of LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones as writers was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper said the two had been part of recent auditions focusing exclusively on minority women.

'Modern Family' cast heading to Australia

NEW YORK - Typically one sign a TV series is doing well is if there's a budget to travel and film on location. By that definition, "Modern Family" is doing extremely well as the cast is heading across the globe.

Qantas Airlines says it is partnering with the show's production company, 20th Century Fox Television, to fly the cast to Australia next month for a two-week shoot of the ABC comedy.

"Modern Family," now in its fifth season, has aired previous vacation episodes that were filmed in Hawaii and Wyoming.

"Modern Family" airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC.

Hancock to give lectures at Harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock will soon be a Harvard man.

Hancock has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. He'll be delivering six lectures on "The Ethics of Jazz" in February and March at Harvard University, covering such topics as "The Wisdom of Miles Davis" and "Cultural Diplomacy and the Voice of Freedom."

Hancock says his lectures will cover the practical lessons he's learned about the harmonious connection between "the essential values in jazz and the values of Buddhism."

Established in 1925, the Norton Professorship has been awarded to important figures from across the arts, including T.S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein.

Hancock became a Kennedy Center Honoree last month.

Associated Press