Michaels, NBC grow SNL pact

“Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels has entered into a partnership with NBC Enterprises to create a new entity called SNL Studios, which will produce programming for all NBC dayparts.

As part of the deal, Michaels could produce new primetime series with “Saturday Night Live” cast members.

Michaels will be chairman of SNL Studios, and has signed a new exclusive deal with NBC to remain as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” for four more years. Michaels also has been executive producer of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” since 1993.

A comedy bent

The deal was made by NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer and is expected to be unveiled at the Television Critics Assn. press tour today in Pasadena. While Michaels and SNL Studios will produce all kinds of programming, the main focus is expected to be comedy.

Michaels this fall enters his 18th season as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live.” The sketch comedy series was showing serious signs of its age a few years ago, but things have improved the past couple of seasons. “SNL” regularly beats fledgling Fox competitor “Mad TV.”

Eight-time Emmy winner

Michaels has won eight Emmy Awards over the course of his career: five as a writer and producer of “Saturday Night Live,” two as a writer and producer of Lily Tomlin specials in 1973 and 1975, and one for writing and producing “The Paul Simon Special” in 1977.

Michaels also has produced several feature films, including “Wayne’s World,” “Wayne’s World II,” “Coneheads” and “Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy.” Michaels also produced and co-wrote the movie “Three Amigos.” This summer, Michaels is producing “A Night at the Roxbury” with Paramount, which is based on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch (Daily Variety, July 17).

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