NBC is introducing a novel concept for the final four episodes of this Saturday Night Live season: they’ll actually be live for the entire nation.
That’s according to this report from Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall. Normally it airs on delay in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, leading to some disconnect for viewers who might follow along on social media, having surprise appearances or especially funny moments spoiled hours before they’re able to watch.
Plus, there’s nothing to fear from a ratings standpoint, which has always been the reasoning for the delay:
SNL to go live nationwide starting April 15. No reason not to anymore, SNL dwarfs ratings for anything in prime time on Sat nite.
— Bill Carter (@wjcarter) March 16, 2017
The final four episodes of the season will bring in some heavy hitters. Former SNL cast member and current Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon is set to host on April 15. Given recent rumors that Fallon is being pushed to get more political in his Tonight Show humor, this could be an interesting confluence. Chris Pine will host on May 6.
On May 13, Melissa McCarthy is on deck to host, where her newly recurring role as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is sure to be on display. May 20 will see the biggest movie star in the world (literally and figuratively) take over, as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson take on the role as host.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out on the west coast, where potential viewers have been spoiled for years by east coast viewers on social media like Twitter and Facebook. By offering the show live for the entire country, everybody can potentially be in on the same jokes at the same time.
“That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time,” Greenblatt said. “Kudos to Lorne Michaels, the producers and cast for making SNL one of the most relevant and anticipated shows in the zeitgeist.”
The real question is whether this will become the norm when the new season begins next fall.