×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Verizon Delays Special Commercial Tied to ‘Saturday Night Live’

Verizon has decided to wait to make a much-anticipated connection with “Saturday Night Live.”

Fans of the venerable NBC late-night mainstay can no doubt guess what they might encounter this weekend when the show caps off a resurgent 42nd season: Will Alec Baldwin return to give viewers a final impression of President Trump before “SNL”  goes on summer hiatus? Could all the various guests  who have played members of the Trump administration — Jimmy Fallon as Jared Kushner; Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer; John Goodman as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — return for a massive Cabinet meeting?

What viewers will not see, however, is a Verizon commercial that had been scripted by “SNL” writer and “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost and set to star cast member Kenan Thompson  – all part of a burgeoning effort by NBC to help tie advertisers more directly to the program.  The ad’s appearance has been postponed, according to two people familiar with the situation.  The spot could show up next season, but might need to be tweaked or revamped to accommodate product cycles, these people said. There is no set date at present for an appearance.

A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment. A “Saturday Night Live” representative referred a query to NBC, which declined to make executives available to comment.

The Verizon commercial’s delayed debut hints at the complexities involved in trying to achieve what is fast becoming Madison Avenue’s Holy Grail: bespoke ties with TV programs. For weeks, Verizon has run an ad in “Saturday Night Live” featuring actor Thomas Middleditch as a spokesman. But that commercial runs in many other places, too. Developing one that plays off “SNL” in direct fashion requires more planning.

“SNL” has already done some work for another advertiser this season. Viewers who tuned in to last week’s episode might have noticed one sketch which featured the use of an Apple laptop — logo on full display for the camera.  The show made sure viewers were aware of the placement. A video “bumper” that appeared in the live broadcast in advance of the sketch told the audience: “Promotional Consideration for SNL Furnished By Apple.”

“SNL” is doing a limited amount of work for advertisers under a plan unveiled by NBC last year. As part of a bid to keep viewers watching the show’s linear broadcast, NBC has run it this season with fewer commercials and offered a select number of sponsors the chance to run ads crafted with “SNL” writers and cast.

The show has approached the opportunity gingerly. Lorne Michaels, the “SNL” executive producer who is also the show’s longtime guiding light, told Variety in April that he is eager to keep people watching the program and line up ad support in an era when digital technology is disrupting the TV business. At the same time, he wants to make sure viewers understand when they are watching a commercial and when they are watching his show, which has for years featured “fake” commercials that often poke fun at their real 3o-second counterparts. “The integrity of the show is really all that matters to me,” Michaels said.

NBC expects to continue to offer some advertisers the chance to work with the program in months to come, executives have said.

More TV

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • Naomi Watts

    Naomi Watts to Star in Jason Blum-Produced Quibi Series 'Wolves and Villagers' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Naomi Watts has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming Quibi series “Wolves and Villagers,” Variety has learned exclusively. The exact plot of the short-form series is being kept under wraps, but Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has previously described the show as “Fatal Attraction 2.0.” Jason Blum is executive producing the series, with [...]

  • HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops

    HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops Trailer

    “Revolutionary,” “superstars,” “the voice of true New Yorkers” — that’s how Spike Lee and other influential figures describe journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill in the trailer released for HBO’s “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” documentary. The film, which premieres Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, follows the two newspaper columnists whose dedication and wit [...]

  • Riverdale Chapter Twenty-Six

    TV News Roundup: 'Riverdale' Sets 'Heathers' Musical Episode

    In Thursday’s roundup, “Riverdale” is set to tackle “Heathers: The Musical,” and Freeform has announced its second annual summit. DATES  The musical episode of the CW’s “Riverdale,” featuring nine songs, will air Wednesday, March 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. On the show, Riverdale High School takes on “Heathers: The Musical,” with queen bees Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), [...]

  • The Bone Collector

    NBC Orders 'Bone Collector' Drama Pilot 'Lincoln'

    NBC has ordered the drama pilot “Lincoln,” formerly known as “The Bone Collector.” Based on the internationally bestselling book series, “Lincoln” follows legendary forensic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme, who was seriously injured during his hunt for the diabolic serial killer known as the Bone Collector. Called back into action when the killer re-emerges, Lincoln forms a [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Turns in Record Q4 Subscriber Gain, Price Increase Weighs on U.S. Forecast

    Netflix is beating Wall Street expectations for international subscriber growth — but its recently announced price increase in the U.S. may have put a damper on its momentum in the States. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Netflix reported 1.53 million paid net adds in the U.S. and 7.31 million internationally, to end the year [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content