'Saturday Night Live' to Cut Ads by 30 Percent for Season 42

Dana Edelson/NBC
Saturday Night Live

To make up for some of that lost revenue, NBC will offer advertisers the opportunity for sponsored content within the weekly live show.

Saturday Night Live is the latest franchise to see its advertising load shaved.

In an ongoing effort to improve the linear TV viewing experience in an increasingly fractured landscape, NBC announced Monday that SNL will cut 30 percent of its load by eliminating two commercial pods next season. Turner and Viacom as well as A+E-owned newcomer Viceland are among the other media outlets that have announced similar plans to reduce primetime ads.

“As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown. This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live,” noted SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels, with NBCUniversal as sales chairman Linda Yaccarino adding: “Since 1975, SNL has shaped and driven conversation. We are excited to try something new and unique that will shape and drive advertiser content, too.”

To make up for some of that lost revenue, NBC will offer advertisers the opportunity for sponsored content within the weekly live show. According to AdAge, the series intends to feature native pods six times a year.

The news comes as SNL enters its 42nd season with a presidential election as its backdrop. To date, the live show is averaging more than 6 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among the coveted 18-49 demographic.

NBCU brass is likely to hammer home the potential for such a strategy during its upfront presentation to advertisers on Monday, May 16th. The network group announced in late March its plan to roll up a series of cable and network presentations into one two-hour event. 

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