Saturday Night Live may get a full season 49 after all. News that the Writers Guild of America reached a tentative agreement meant good news for SNL.
The WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have a deal in place that could see unionized writers return to their jobs in TV and movies. Late-night TV is reportedly already gearing up to return.
So what does that mean for Saturday Night Live? According to Deadline, Saturday Night Live has circled either October 7 or October 14 as the SNL season 49 premiere date.
That wouldn’t be too far off from what to expect had this been a typical offseason. SNL usually returns around the first weekend of October. It had been four years since the show came back in September.
There was some concern that stand-up comedy dates booked by cast members such as Colin Jost and Michael Che indicated SNL would take even longer to return. But it’s possible that those shows were given the caveat that an SNL return would take priority
The WGA is scheduled to vote on its new deal on Tuesday, September 26. If all goes according to plan, writers can get back to work. NBC will have to reinstate its production deal with SNL boss Lorne Michaels, and then the team can begin season 49.
Following the writers’ strike that began in 2007, Saturday Night Live aired its first episode 11 days after things ended. For a show designed to work quickly and flip things over at a fast pace, there should be plenty of time to get a show ready for October 7 or 14.
What will Saturday Night Live do about hosts during the SAG-AFTRA strike?
Getting the writers back and with a fair deal is fantastic news. Now, Saturday Night Live can turn its attention to scheduling episodes for season 49.
However, it won’t be easy since the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) remains on strike. That means actors cannot promote new projects or perform anything on camera.
SAG-AFTRA’s Network Code gives an exemption to certain shows like Saturday Night Live. Cast members are allowed to return to SNL without punishment. But union actors and actresses will be prohibited from appearing as hosts.
So what will Saturday Night Live do? It can look to athletes, musicians, and comedians to step in. It could pose a challenge, as some entertainers may not want to give off the impression that they are crossing the picket line.
Athletes may be tricky. The NFL season is in full swing, and the NBA is about to open its preseason. While that limits the talent pool, it certainly doesn’t mean SNL has no options.
Perhaps the best bet would be to look in-house. John Mulaney and Seth Meyers are two names that would be well-received by SNL audiences.
If SNL does plan to return by October 14, we should know the host for the premiere sooner than later.