NBC has decided to bring part of “Saturday Night Live” into primetime later this year.
The network announced Tuesday that it’s ordered four episodes of “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” to air over the summer. Title aside, the shows will air on Thursday nights at 9 ET/PT starting Aug. 10.
Reports of a possible standalone “Weekend Update” show surfaced last month, and the deal is now official. “Update” anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost will fill their usual roles, and other “SNL” cast members will appear alongside them.
“‘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,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says in a statement. “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.”
NBC has aired “Weekend Update” specials in primetime in the past, most recently for a three-week period in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. (It also did them in 2008 and ’09.)
As for Greenblatt’s ratings boast, “SNL” ratings have been up this season. It’s averaging a shade over 11 million viewers this season (including a week of DVR and on-demand viewing), which is more than any season since 1992-93 — with the rather large caveat that DVR viewing didn’t exist or wasn’t counted for the first dozen or so of those years.
Still, the show’s Live +7 ratings are up 26 percent year to year in viewers (11.02 million vs. 8.82 million in 2015-16) and up 22 percent in adults 18-49 (3.6 vs. 2.9).
A typical “Weekend Update” segment on “SNL” runs between 10 and 15 minutes, so Jost, Che and Co. will have to come up with a good amount of additional material for each primetime show.