The ax fell at “Saturday Night Live” on Friday morning.
Industry sources said that most of the show’s below-the-line production staff was fired by NBC in light of the writers strike and the fact that the show hasn’t produced a fresh seg since Nov. 3.
It was unclear exactly how many staffers were affected. Industry sources said it was upward of 50 people. NBC reps declined comment. Peacock sources said that a handful of staffers remained on the payroll.
“SNL” thesps have not been formally terminated but rather placed on an unpaid “hiatus” like many other thesps on shows shuttered by the strike — a move that has raised red flags at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild (Daily Variety, Nov. 16).
“SNL” staffers were “devastated” by the pinkslips, in the words of one laid-off employee, particularly given the Peacock’s move to keep staffers of “Tonight Show” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on the payroll for at least a few more weeks, though those staffs are much smaller than the “SNL” brigade.
On Saturday night, most of the current “SNL” cast took part in a live staging of the sketch-comedy stalwart at Gotham’s Upright Citizens Brigade theater.
The sold-out $20 per-ticket performance, hosted by the comedy troupe co-founded by “SNL” player Amy Poehler, was a benefit to aid the pinkslipped production staffers. “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels also attended, according to the Associated Press. The UCB theater will host a similar event tonight featuring the cast of NBC sitcom “30 Rock.”