‘Saturday Night Live’ to Air Live Across the Country

Jimmy Fallon Melissa McCarthy
REX/Shutterstock

Saturday Night Live” will finally be, well, live in all time zones.

Starting on April 15, the show will air live simultaneously across the country for the first time in its history, coinciding with the East Coast airing, Variety has learned. This schedule change impacts the final four episodes of the current season.

The episodes will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon on April 15, followed by Chris Pine on May 6, Melissa McCarthy on May 13, and Dwayne Johnson for the season-ender on May 20. McCarthy’s portrayal of White House press secretary Sean Spicer has been one of the highlights of the season, driving the show to ratings heights.

“‘SNL’ — enjoying its most popular season in two decades — is part of the national conversation, and 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,” said NBC entertainment chair Bob Greenblatt. “That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time.”

Each episode will air live at 11:30pm ET; 10:30pm Central; 9:30pm Mountain; and 8:30pm PT. (“SNL” will be repeated at 11:30pm in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.)

The show has been on a ratings roll since President Trump’s upset victory in the Nov. 8 presidential election, fueled by Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of the commander-in-chief. Overall, “SNL” viewership for the season to date is up 19% in adults 18-49 (3.5 vs. 2.9 rating) and up 22% in total viewers (10.6 million vs. 8.7 million) over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season.

NBC also recently announced plans to extend the run of the show into the summer. “Weekend Update” hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che will also get a limited run in primetime in August when NBC airs four half-hour broadcasts of the faux-news showcase.

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  1. Lex says:

    I like watching comedy on Saturday Nights, always have. Fortunately FXX is showing reruns of In Living Color at 12. :)

  2. Andy Sammonds says:

    This feels like a desperate and futile attempt to compete with ABCs annual airing of “The Ten Commandments”. Ratings for the latter have been climbing over the years.

  3. Michael Baldauf says:

    think what this means. A major network with big money to produce top notch programming, getting beaten by offerings from web and cable providers, and their best shot at ratings is by getting together a bunch of comedy skits that could be written by 6th graders who are throwing temper tantrums because they do not like the outcome of an election. Wow, that’s some bold programming…NOT!

  4. MediaMike says:

    If they’re showing anything but re-runs from 76-79, they’re wasting time.

  5. Regina says:

    Great season this year thanks to Trump & Co. Would like to see some fresh hosts next season, though like Nathan Fillion—fans have been asking for him to host for years!

  6. Alex says:

    …this is not counting the pre-taped skits…that are taped

  7. Thinkman808 says:

    I predict a safe harbor violation/investigation/fine from Trump’s FCC.

  8. Faye Canoes says:

    This will come crashing back to earth quickly as SNL has no TV competition from 11:30pm to 1:00am on the east coast, but more and more as the timezones get earlier across the country.

    The weekend update guys doing a half hour over the summer couldn’t be worse than other things out there for a half hour, but SNL for a full 90 minutes starting at 8:30 on the west coast with how excruciatingly unfunny it is? – No way.

    The only thing driving the ratings up are Alec Baldwin & friends in the opening sequence minutes. After that there is almost never a laugh to be found. – I hope NBC cut a fat check to him for saving SNL.

  9. John says:

    Trump should get credit for “one job” he created for Alec Baldwin.

    • cadavra says:

      As opposed to all those other jobs Baldwin has, including hosting and executive producing “Match Game,” three to five features a year (including the about to open “Boss Baby”), numerous other TV guest roles and talk-show appearances, and an occasional Broadway play. Plus he needs a little time to spend with his wife and three small children. Yes, thank you and God bless you, Donald, for selflessly giving poor Alec six minutes of work a couple of times a month!

  10. Chris says:

    4 great hosts to close out the season hopefully next year we can get jt and Jon Hamm again.

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