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It’s official: Saturday Night Live is staying live coast-to-coast for its upcoming season.
NBC confirmed the news Tuesday, just days after the long-running show took home nine Emmys, the most of any program.
SNL capped a banner year — which saw Alec Baldwin step in as President Donald Trump opposite Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton — by airing the final four shows of the 42nd season live in all time zones.
Executive producer Lorne Michaels had previously hinted that the experiment would become permanent with speaking with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg in August.
“I think it is,” he said at the time, pointing to the ratings increase. According to NBC, live-plus-same-day viewership rose 11 percent for the live coast-to-coast airings.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has been high on live programming as delayed viewing continues to rise, thanks to other top-rated live programs like Sunday Night Football (and now Thursday Night Football) as well as live musicals like The Sound of Music and The Wiz. For 2018, NBC has slated live versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and the Aaron Sorkin play A Few Good Men,(headlined by none other than Baldwin).
As part of the continued live telecasts, encore presentations of the most recent episode of SNL will be shown in the Mountain and Pacific time zones at 11:30 p.m. In those Western regions, the live telecasts of SNL replace truncated encore episodes from past seasons that NBC been airing at 10 p.m.
This is the latest development for SNL, which also aired four special editions of Weekend Update during the month of August — the first time the show has produced new content during the summer hiatus.
SNL‘s Emmy wins included statuettes for Baldwin and McKinnon as well as for best variety sketch series.
Season 43 kicks off Saturday, Sept. 30, with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z.
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