Saturday Night Live has been on the air for decades, but the late-night sketch comedy show is still changing with the times. For the first time in its 40-year history, SNL will air live across the country, Deadline reports. Audiences will say goodbye to tape delays in mid-April, and the final four episodes of the season will air live at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. CT/9:30 p.m. MT/8:30 p.m. PT.
While this doesn’t mark a time change for those living in eastern time zones, it does push the show earlier for the rest of the country. The benefit is that nationwide viewers will be able to watch together, like one big happy family. Aww.
“That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time,” said Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman.
To make sure that viewers tune in for the episodes in question, SNL locked down some great hosts, ones that should each be a big draw. SNL alum and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon will kick off the first of the four episodes on April 15, and he’ll be followed by Chris Pine on May 6, Melissa McCarthy on May 13, and then Dwayne Johnson on May 20.
Fallon teased his return in a tweet, saying that he “can’t wait to be back hosting.”
Can't wait to be back hosting @NBCSNL – LIVE across the country for the 1st time! April 15. Love that show. Love that cast. Here we go!
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) March 16, 2017
The hosts will add their contribution to what has been SNL‘s most-watched season in more than two decades. Viewers — well, perhaps with one very notable exception who lives in the White House — have been going wild over the show’s political coverage, which has featured Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump, Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and more. The popularity has spurred on not just this broadcast change but also a limited run of Weekend Update episodes set to air in August.
SNL is on a high right now, and going live everywhere may help the show maintain its momentum.
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