Likely in an attempt to capitalize on our batshit news cycle, NBC has announced it is turning Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update into a four-episode primetime series on August 10.
"SNL is having its best season in a quarter of a century - how many shows can say that?! - so we didn't want them to take the summer off," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment in a news release. "We're thrilled to have Colin Jost and Michael Che continuing their unique brand of news with fresh 'Weekend Update' shows in primetime this August.
This is a move similar to the Weekend Update Thursday specials SNL experimented with during the 2008 election. Though they initially started off to strong results-thanks in part to strong writing from Seth Meyers and the star-power of Amy Poehler and Meyers as hosts-subsequent attempts at reviving a stand-alone Weekend Update show saw ratings drop by more than half.
And that was in a different era of SNL. Currently, SNL is seeing its strongest ratings in decades, thanks in part to strong political satire from special guests like Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy. But the show's lowlights have often been during Weekend Update. Going into their third year as hosts, Michael Che and Colin Jost still haven't found a consistent rhythm. Last month, Che mangled a joke about Bill O'Reilly and Jost followed suit by screwing up a Kenan Thompson outro-which were later cut from OnDemand and Hulu videos. Their spitfire one-liners of the week's easy-target stories are often only saved by special guests.
But a stand-alone Weekend Update would also come in an exceedingly competitive late-night lineup. John Oliver, Seth Meyers, and Samantha Bee are nearly impossible to beat when it comes to in-depth, well-reported info-comedy segments. If SNL is trying to do that with a Weekend Update show it seems almost impossible it could compete.
Maybe NBC should leave Weekend Update as-is, and focus on making it better. Or maybe they just want more content for Donald Trump to tweet about.
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