The effect COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have been having are far-reaching. But there's a small glimmer of good news, as viewers have been turning back to television for the first time in a long time. Netflix, Disney+, and other streamers are certainly getting a workout, but broadcast is seeing a rise for the first time in years. The only problem is that for a lot of shows, new episodes can't be made until the order is lifted. But some shows are trying to find creative solutions, including Saturday Night Live. SNL is returning April 11 for the first time since the beginning of March when stay-at-home orders shut down production.
Saturday Night Live isn't the first late-night show to attempt to make the new world work. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and others, have been broadcasting from home, with remote interviews. But Saturday Night Live is unique, in that it's improv sketch comedy, a medium done best in front of a live audience whose energy feeds the players, who then feed off each other.
Even so, SNL does have some sketches that might work well, like the long-standing "Weekend Update," and the musical guests. (Musical performances from home by artists have been some of the more popular offerings on social media.) With that in mind, SNL is attempting to see if the show can handle going remote.
The series, which suspended production amid the novel coronavirus crisis, will produce new material remotely while continuing to practice social distancing. The episode will include the popular "Weekend Update" segment as well as other original content from SNL cast members. There will not be a host.
But fans should not get their hopes up this means a return to weekly Saturday Night Live episodes. At least, not yet.
Right now, the episode is considered a one-off, and it's unclear if SNL will resume any sort of weekly new episode schedule. SNL was scheduled to return March 28 with John Krasinski as the host and Dua Lipa as the musical guest.
Chances are, if the episode does work, the production could decide to continue experimenting week to week for the rest of the season. But right now, fans will take what they can get.
Saturday Night Live returns Saturday, April 11, 2020, on NBC.
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