Live across the country, it’s “Saturday Night”! After NBC experimented last year with finally airing “Saturday Night Live” live across the country — meaning it aired in primetime in the Pacific time zone — the Peacock appears to be making the move permanent.
Like last spring’s final four episodes, “Saturday Night Live” will air at 8:30 p.m. PT, live with its 11:30 p.m. ET telecast, and then be rebroadcast again later that night at 11:30 p.m. PT. The news also allows the show to air at 9:30pm in the Mountain time zone. The 43rd season of “SNL” will premiere on September 30 with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z.
The announcement comes after “Saturday Night Live’s” huge Emmy haul on Sunday night. Between the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys, “SNL” picked up eight wins this year, more than any other program.
“Saturday Night Live’s” victories included the key outstanding variety sketch program award. A broadcast program hadn’t won a Outstanding Variety Series Emmy since 2002, when CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” won the prize. The race was split in 2015 into separate variety talk and variety sketch categories, but cable had continued to win both races — until this year.
It was also “Saturday Night Live’s” win in a top variety category since 1993; it had previously won in 1976. “SNL” won for best directing for a variety program and also won four key acting awards. Alec Baldwin won for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy, for playing President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon landed her second consecutive Emmy, for supporting actress in a comedy.
Overall “Saturday Night Live” had scored 22 nominations this year; its other wins included guest actor in a comedy series for Dave Chappelle, and guest actress in a comedy series for Melissa McCarthy, both of whom hosted the show last season.
NBC had resisted airing “SNL” live on the west coast in the past because of content concerns. But last year, the show posted its best ratings in years and had become such a part of the pop cultural conversation that the issue was readdressed.
“We thought it would be a great idea to broadcast to the west and mountain time zones live at the same time it’s being seen in the east and central time zones,” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, said last spring in first announcing the coast-to-coast move. “That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time.”