Saturday Night Live’s ambitious plan to return for season 46

Aidy Bryant, Daniel Craig, and Ego Nwodim in Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
Aidy Bryant, Daniel Craig, and Ego Nwodim in Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC) /

Saturday Night Live is considering its options for a return this fall

Last season, Saturday Night Live looked unlike anything else in the show’s 45-year history. Fans can likely expect more of the same as show considers how it can return for season 46 despite the ongoing pandemic.

New York City has made great strides in combating the novel coronavirus. What was once the country’s epicenter in the pandemic has slowly but surely fought it’s way back. However, that doesn’t mean that New York institutions like Saturday Night Live can return to normal.

SNL’s producers are looking ahead to Sept. when season 46 is scheduled to start. According to the Hollywood Reporter, live audiences are likely off the table. A full cast and crew gathering at the SNL studios and office is also unlikely to happen.

It is possible that a limited number of cast and crew members could come together. Obviously, this reduces just how “live” Saturday Night Live can be. But even pretaped sketches would get a huge boost with help from proper sets, costumes, hair and makeup, lighting, etc.

Colin Jost, SNL’s co-head writer and “Weekend Update” co-anchor, is optimistic. Speaking with actress Natalie Portman for Interview Magazine, Jost offered this response when asked about the plan for season 46:

"It’s very up in the air because we don’t know what the legal setup would be. I think most of our cast members and writers would show up, even if there was a 100-percent chance of getting COVID. I think most of us are desperate for that creative outlet, especially with the election coming up. If there’s any way to be back, we will be, but we’re waiting to see what’s feasible and what level of risk we can tolerate or NBC will allow us to tolerate."

According to Jost, everyone is eager to get together in person and get their creative juices flowing. They just need the go-ahead from NBC and then it will be off the races.

Saturday Night Live does have the luxury of a couple more months to wait and see where things stand by the fall. It can also look to shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that have returned to a studio albeit with a skeleton crew.

Saturday Night Live’s season 45 proved that remote shows can work

Social distancing and quarantining protocols in New York City meant that Saturday Night Live closed up Studio 8H after the March 7 episode hosted by Daniel Craig. After taking a month off, the show returned in April for three episodes of Saturday Night Live at Home.

After working out some kinks in the first episode, the at-home episodes found a rhythm. Fans appreciate SNL’s effort in providing entertainment and a sense of normalcy during the depths of the pandemic.

If season 46 requires some combination of in-studio and at-home sketches, the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live will be confident they can pull it off. With even more time to prepare and New York City a little more manageable to navigate, there is no reason to think that any remote content in the upcoming season would be better than this past one.

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What do you think is the best plan for Saturday Night Live for season 46? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Keep checking Last Night On for more news from SNL and the rest of late night television.