Is Saturday Night Live Immune From Cancellation?

First, I want to make it clear that I am not am not fishing for validation or agreement on my opinion, but I have to say that last nights SNL was virtually devoid if any entertainment value at all. None of the sketches were remotely funny, (Having Obama repeatedly asked to take the picture of the White House Party Crashers was the “highlight” of the show for me, and it got stale midway thru the sketch) the musical guest was mediocre at best, and the “Weekend Update” segment was completely forgettable. (These are all just my personal opinions, and I dont want or expect them to be shared by everyone else).

Of course, I am sure that there are some out there who still enjoy the show, even though it is slipping in ratings and is critically panned on a regular basis.

My question is, will SNL continue for as long as Lorne Michaels is willing and able to slap a show together, or is there a point where NBC will pull the plug?

With NBC in the ratings basement, I suppose that they are not anxious to cancel a show that has a core audience, no matter how small, but will Lorne Michales ever decide that his show’s legacy is being tarnished and bow out gracefully before the entire hour and a half is one long “Gilley” sketch?

Does Saturday Night Live have such massive inertia and momentum behind it that it will be around as long as there is an NBC?

If Lorne Michaels wanted to end Saturday Night Live, would he be allowed to shut it down?

I think it will stay as long as NBC doesn’t have anything better to replace it with. Not much on TV is able to reliably attract the kind of prime demographic on a saturday night that SNL can draw.

As long as a television series shows a profit it will stay on the air. When a television series offends me deeply, I find something else to do. Television dies when it is ignored.

Late night, weekened TV is a wasteland. They’ll keep whatever’s cheap with minimal ratings.

NBC has kept SNL going without Lorne’s input, during the early 80s when the original cast left. They aren’t going to cancel the show, instead NBC will just fire which ever performers and writers they feel are dead weight in order to keep costs down. Remember Horatio Sanz? He was fired in 2006 when SNLs ratings began to tank. If the ratings get worse, NBC will make Lorne fire more people to keep the show within budget.

I’m honestly surprised it’s lasted as long as it has. They haven’t had anything or anyone consistently deliver the funny since the Muppets left.

I recall hearing they were close to being axed a few times in the past.

One thing I find funny is people who say “SNL hasn’t been funny in 20 years” and then they admit they haven’t watched it in 20 years. So how do they know it’'s not funny?

I would assume that name recognition would make it more likely to earn a complete overhaul than a cancellation. Of course they might shut it down for a year or two while shopping around for someone new to take the reins and to find a new cast, which could technically be called a cancellation, but like I said, I doubt that it would stay down for long or that anyone would have any intention to let it die eternally.

They had one horrible year under Jean Doumanian. The sad part was the next years under Dick Ebersol & Michael O’Donoghue were some of the best the show ever did. I know I’m alone in this opinion, but it was mercifully free of Lorne Michaels’ search for recurring characters to make into movies. Ebersol and O’Donoghue actually killed off characters - the Death of Buckwheat was a brilliant satire of how network news milks a story hour after hour, turns sociopaths into celebrities and uses personal tragedy as entertainment.

Michaels, on the other hand, would have included a Buckwheat sketch in every episode and made a Buckwheat movie or two. He’s an astounding hack.

The quality of SNL usually goes in cycles. Right now it stinks. But in five years, they could be in the middle of another golden era. It’s happened at least 3 times during the show’s run- 1975-80, 1986-94 (roughly coinciding with Phil Hartman leaving), 1996-2002 (Will Ferrell leaves). These are the periods where most of the classic sketches and characters come from. If history repeats itself, it won’t be long before a new cast shows up.

I know you’re not looking for validation, but here it is anyway. Last night’s show may have been the worst SNL I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some with the current cast that I thought were funny. The bit a few weeks back with ‘Beauty And Beast’ was pretty funny IMHO, for example. But last night was pure worthless shit.

The Taylor Swift show from a couple weeks back was pretty consistently funny. I didn’t watch this week’s, though. But it’s not completely devoid of humor, most weeks. I would agree that it’s in a down cycle right now, but it’s definitely not the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve been watching since the mid-80s.

For my money, the all-time worst show was when Tom Green hosted, by the way. Probably about 5-6 years ago, or so.

It’s cheap to put on and it makes money. Actors see it as a stepping stone for further career development. No one today says “I want to go on SNL and be an actor.” They want exposure to get into movies and other projects. Since the actors are in large part responsible for ideas and writing as well as acting it keeps costs down.

No show is immune from cancellation, eventually even Gunsmoke, *All In The Family *(Archie Bunker’s Place) were run into the ground.

The real fear the networks have is giving the time back to the affiliates. Usually it is more profitable for a local station to have the time and air product (ie informercials and the like) and keep all the sale revenues.

If NBC cancelled SNL they’d have to come up with something better in the ratings for less money or they’d have to hand back the time slot to the local stations. If they hand back the time slot, then NBC would never be able to get it back again, unless they came up with a show on par to the original cast and show, which won’t happen.

Of course now that NBC is most likely going to be bought by Comcast (unless something happens to kill the deal) who knows. If Comcast is not interested in having locals stations and would rather run NBC as a cable network than an OTA (over the air) affiliate network this could change in the years to come

What bothers me is that the reason it’s not funny is so obvious. The timing on every joke is off. A lot of skits seem to rely on the comic ability of the cast, and they rarely deliver.

They keep on writing skits with the idea that the cast will make them funny, instead of starting with something that is inherently funny, and adding on to that. It sucks that the show depends so much on the actors themselves being funny, when they so obviously aren’t.

Oh, and MsWhatsit: the only reason that show was funny was because Swift was funny. It’s sad when the guest host with no acting chops whatsoever can be funnier than the main cast.

Yeah, she was good, but it’s not like she wrote her own material. The writing staff still turns out funny material quite a bit, and I disagree that the cast is completely unfunny. Sure, they have their moments, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments for me with this cast as well. That’s just my personal opinion, though. As a long-time SNL fan/watcher, I’m well-used to people disagreeing with me on this topic. :slight_smile:

NBC? Does that still exist?


An hour long humor program will have hits and misses. You can not expect uproars every minute. They have done some great bits over the years. What program has done better?

The bit about Tiger was hilarious!:smiley:

This is the answer, basically. I remember a couple of years ago, NBC was on the verge of cancelling ER because the ratings were down and the show was enormously expensive (something like $4-5 million per episode, as I remember). But the ratings improved for some reason, and it was renewed for another year.

Another thing is that SNL is an important incubator for actors and writers. Now, according to the Wikipedia article on the show, the last movie based on an SNL character was The Ladies Man in 2000 (although apparently we can look forward to a feature-length MacGruber movie next year). But there are other films, like Hot Rod, which Lorne Michaels produced and presumably made money on.

(Although lately, it seems like the Daily Show is a bigger incubator for actors.)