NBC is tackling the Super Bowl again, pitting a 20-minute edition of “Saturday Night Live” against ABC’s Shania Twain halftime spectacular.
Net saw modest success last year with a two-part, Playboy-themed edition of “Fear Factor” that aired during halftime and after the big game. This year, Peacock brass have decided to focus solely on halftime.
At around 7 p.m. EST, NBC will begin airing a repeat 90-minute edition of “Fear Factor.” When the Super Bowl hits halftime, NBC will interrupt “Fear” with a live broadcast of “SNL’s” Jimmy Fallon/Tina Fey-anchored “Weekend Update” that will likely include several popular characters and bits from the sketch laffer.
The rest of “Fear” will air once “Update” ends.
Peacock brass are still hammering out a deal with “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels and key talent to do the special, but a pact is expected. “We just hate the idea of rolling over on any night,” NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker said. “It’s not in our DNA.”
Last year’s Super Bowl “Fear Factor” attracted a healthy 11 million viewers for NBC but didn’t put much of a dent in the halftime ratings for Fox’s pigskin broadcast.
Still, “The demos that night were tremendous,” Zucker said. “And this year, ‘SNL’ is having a great year and this will be a great platform for the show.”
NBC isn’t the first net to attack on Super Bowl Sunday.
Fox pioneered such cheeky stunts in 1992, with a special live edition of sketch comedy “In Living Color” that aired during halftime of CBS’ coverage of the game. The “ILC” special stole away a huge chunk of the Eye’s half-time viewers.
Since then, several cable networks have tried to lure viewers away with various gimmicks, such as a “Beavis and Butt-head” spec on MTV or USA Network’s 1999 WWF halftime grudge match.
This year, Fox is skedded to air a repeat of the blockbuster theatrical “Independence Day,” while CBS will repeat “The Deep End of the Ocean.” Both nets are part of the Super Bowl rotation and likely have no interest in annoying the NFL with a Super Bowl stunt.