NBC bringing half-hour episodes of SNL's Weekend Update to prime time in August

Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update
Will Heath/NBC

Weekend Update has long been one of the most popular segments on Saturday Night Live. Now, NBC is looking to capitalize on that popularity, along with the growing trend toward spoof news series, by running four 30-minute broadcasts of the segment in prime time this summer, reports Variety.

The first of the four episodes will premiere at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 10. The episodes will feature the segment’s two current hosts, Colin Jost and Michael Che. In Weekend Update, the hosts cover actual news items and current events, from politics to entertainment news, with healthy doses of hilarity, sarcasm, and, often, realism.

Feature on the show’s first broadcast in 1975, Weekend Update is SNL’s longest-running recurring sketch. “Anchors” of the faux news program have included Chevy Chase (the first), Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon, and Norm Macdonald. Prior to Jost and Che taking over as anchors in 2014, Seth Meyers sat behind the desk for six seasons.

In total, 32 cast members have served as anchor of the broadcast, and several others have appeared as special guests. During the four, extended half-hour broadcasts this summer, SNL cast members are also set to make guest appearances, likely both impersonating real people and portraying some favorite fictional characters.

SNL creator Lorne Michaels is clearly looking to capitalize on the ratings boost the sketch comedy show has experienced following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. The show is enjoying its most-watched season since 1992, when the cast included comedic gems like Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, and David Spade. Ratings for the coveted 18-49 demographic are the highest since SNL’s 34th season in 2008-2009, which included cast members like Poehler, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis.

This won’t, however, mark the first time Weekend Update has appeared beyond its short in-show segment. Jost and Che appeared on MSNBC last summer to comment after the Democratic and Republication conventions, while Meyers and Poehler did three episodes in 2008 prior to that year’s presidential election. There were another three episodes in 2009 and two that aired in 2012 as well.