NBC wants to spin-off SNL’s Weekend Update into primetime show

Michael Che, Colin Jost, SNL, Weekend Update
Michael Che, Colin Jost, SNL, Weekend Update /

Saturday Night Live is in talks to turn Weekend Update into a weekly series.

NBC is looking to capitalize on SNL’s rising ratings by spinning off its popular “Weekend Update” segment into a 30-minute weekly series on Thursdays later this year, Politico reports. The network aired special editions of the long-running sketch series on the night during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, but this past election cycle’s extended coverage was limited to special editions of “Weekend Update” on MSNBC following the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, co-anchored by Michael Che and Colin Jost.

However, the series received rave reviews and even awards recognition for their debate sketches starring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, and more recently they have spoofed several members of the new administration, including Kellyanne Conway (McKinnon), Steve Bannon (Mikey Day as the Grim Reaper) and Sean Spicer (Melissa McCarthy).

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SNL is currently enjoying its most-watched season in over two decades since the 1994–1995 season. It’s up 22% compared to last season, averaging 10.6 million viewers overall vs. 8.7 million last year. The improved numbers are mostly due to their Trump material, as the highest-rated episodes have come right after the election and the new president’s inauguration.

The move to make a “Weekend Update” spin-off could allow NBC to compete on Thursdays against ratings behemoth The Big Bang Theory on CBS, which has surpassed the peacock network on a night that used to be dominated by their “Must See TV” comedies like Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace and Cheers. The most recent episode of SNL hosted by Kristen Stewart was the second highest-rated program of the week in the 18-49 demo behind only Big Bang Theory. Producing another live version of the satirical program would likely give a boost to the network’s struggling Thursday night lineup, pairing it with one of their critically acclaimed but low-rated sitcoms like The Good Place or Superstore, or perhaps even their planned Will & Grace revival.

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SNL airs this Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 p.m. on NBC with host Alec Baldwin and musical guest Ed Sheeran.