'SNL' ready for primetime



NBC is trying out "Saturday Night Live" compilations as a regular primetime series on Saturdays.

Four 90-minute "best of" shows will air starting this Saturday as well as Dec. 15, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 from 9:30-11 p.m. If successful, "SNL" clip shows could continue running on Saturdays, where they serve as a lead-in to the late-night sketch show that starts after 11 p.m. local newscasts.

Sources indicated that plans for a series of "SNL" specials to air Saturday nights have been in the works for months and are not related to the ongoing writers strike.

Saturday has become a land of repeats for the major broadcast networks, and "SNL"-branded shows are considered a good alternative to drama reruns on the other channels. They also might help original "SNLs" at 11:30 p.m. when the show returns to production after the strike.

NBC airs one or two "SNL" primetime specials each season, and they regularly do well in young viewers.

The four "SNL" clip shows scheduled so far include "The Best of Will Ferrell" (Saturday), "The Best of Chris Farley" (Dec. 15), "The Best of 2006-07" (Dec. 15) and "SNL Goes Commercial" (Dec. 29).