“Saturday Night Live” will air live coast-to-coast for the first time in its history in April. Then it will again three more times.
For the first time in the show’s 42-year history, viewers in the Mountain and Pacific time zones will see the show (legally) as it airs the first time. “SNL” will air at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 CT/9:30 MT/8:30 PT for the last four episodes of the season, the first of which airs April 15. (Sorry, Hawaii and Alaska.)
Jimmy Fallon will host the April 15 show. He’ll be followed by Chris Pine on May 6, Melissa McCarthy on May 13 and Dwayne Johnson for the season finale May 20. Musical guests have yet to be announced.
“‘SNL’ … is part of the national conversation, and we thought it would be a great idea to broadcast to the [Pacific] west and Mountain time zones live at the same time it’s being seen in the [Eastern] and Central time zones,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says in a statement. “That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time. Kudos to Lorne Michaels, the producers and cast for making ‘SNL’ one of the most relevant and anticipated shows in the zeitgeist.”
The shows will also air on tape-delay at 11:30 p.m. in both the Mountain and Pacific zones. The live broadcasts will push affiliates’ local news back an hour in the Mountain zone, but will undoubtedly give the newscasts a better lead-in than the usual reruns.
“SNL” has enjoyed a ratings resurgence this season, posting its best 18-49 ratings since 2008-09 (based on Live +7 figures) and largest total audience since the early 1990s.