NEW YORK – Eli Manning sensed his brother’s shadow even as a comedic actor.

“Saturday Night Live” producers invited the New York Giants quarterback to host after he won his first Super Bowl in 2008. One of the many reasons he declined was that Peyton Manning had hosted the show a year earlier after his own championship.

“Peyton had done so well the previous year, I thought it might be a little fresh in everyone’s minds,” Eli said Wednesday. “I did not want to have to go up against a tough competition and the great job that he performed.”

Manning recalled he sent word back that perhaps he’d host if he won another title. Sure enough, he said yes after his second ring, and will star in the late-night sketches this Saturday.

“I had not proven myself as much as I wanted to,” he said of that initial offer four years ago.

Manning and SNL chief Lorne Michaels took part in a conference call Wednesday, hours before the quarterback would start acting out 40-45 skits to whittle down to 12 or 13 to be potentially performed in front of that live television audience.

He made the short trip into Manhattan from Hoboken, N.J., on Monday and Tuesday afternoon to meet with writers and cast members at NBC’s Rockefeller Center studios. Wednesday afternoon would be the first time Manning saw the scripts and rehearsed, and he was eager to get going.

He sat in the audience, laughing along, when Peyton hosted in 2007, an episode that included a memorable sketch lampooning the NFL’s United Way commercials. Eli sought his brother’s advice before accepting his own invitation.

Peyton told him: “The one thing you are used to doing is live – that’s something you do every week during the football season.”

“We know how Eli reacts both under pressure and also with changing things quickly,” Michaels said. “I don’t think we’re making any other kinds of concession because it’s an athlete over an actor, comedian or singer – or politician, for that matter.”

John Madden, who hosted in 1982, called Manning on Wednesday and offered the same counsel that Peyton did.

Cause of fire at Tyler Perry studios unknown

ATLANTA – The cause of a fire that ripped through a simulated streetscape at the studios of Atlanta filmmaker Tyler Perry may never be known, Atlanta fire officials said Wednesday.

The Tuesday evening blaze at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta will be recorded as undetermined, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran said in an emailed statement.

“The intensity of the fire in the area of origin consumed any evidence that would lead to a cause of ignition,” Cochran said.

There were no reports of injuries from the blaze that began shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday and burned through the exterior facade of a large building. Perry – whose films include “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Daddy’s Little Girls” – was at the complex Tuesday night and spoke with Cochran.

Zsa Zsa kin try to end dispute outside court

LOS ANGELES – Zsa Zsa Gabor’s daughter and husband are attempting to settle a dispute over the 95-year-old actress’ care and finances outside of court, attorneys told a probate judge Wednesday.

The two sides will meet with a retired probate judge in late June to try to mediate their issues without the need for a lengthy court fight.

Gabor’s daughter, Constance Francesca Hilton, has asked that a conservatorship be created to oversee the actress’ medical care and ensure that her assets are being properly protected. The petition is opposed by Frederic von Anhalt, Gabor’s husband of 25 years and her caretaker.

Hilton appeared for a brief scheduling hearing Wednesday but did not speak. Attorneys said they would report the results of the mediation at a hearing on July 11.

Hilton and von Anhalt have sparred for years and each has accused the other of financial mismanagement.