While America is now several months removed from the contentious election that resulted in former The Apprentice host Donald Trump becoming the 45h President of the United States, the wounds of political division haven’t even begun to heal. In fact, one could argue that they have only gotten worse. However, if there’s one TV show that has always seemed to creatively benefit from times of great political strife, it’s NBC’s venerable sketch comedy series, Saturday Night Live.
Many of SNL’s greatest sketches and celebrity impressions are tied directly to making fun of politicians, and the various members of the Trump administration have been no different. Post-election, SNL’s ratings have soared upward, with the series arguably becoming the most culturally relevant that it has been since Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression took the world by storm. Some of the most pointed barbs can usually be found each week on SNL’s news parody segment Weekend Update, a comedic institution dating back to the days of original host Chevy Chase.
Now co-hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, Weekend Update remains one of the most anticipated segments when SNL fans sit down each week to catch the latest episode. When that fact is combined with the aforementioned ratings upswing, it’s not too surprising that NBC might want to expand Weekend Update outside of the SNL box. According to Politico, NBC is considering spinning-off Weekend Update into its own weekly series, beginning this fall. The spin-off would likely air on Thursday nights, and of course be hosted by Jost and Che.
If NBC indeed opts to greenlight this spin-off, it certainly won’t be the first time that the network has experimented with making Weekend Update its own thing. A weekly, primetime version of Weekend Update was first attempted in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, with a handful of episodes also airing in 2009. The last time Weekend Update aired in primetime was fall 2012, prior to the election between Obama and Mitt Romney.
Should NBC move forward with a Thursday night Weekend Update telecast, one risk they’ll run is possibly overexposing the SNL brand and/or hosts Jost and Che. As popular as SNL is, by its very nature, not every comedy piece it does is a winner. That’s just the nature of sketch work, and the same holds true for the one-liners rapidly tossed out by Jost and Che. Still, if the idea does prove successful, one wonders whether NBC might ever decide to remove Weekend Update from SNL’s regular broadcast, making it exclusive to Thursday nights.
We’ll keep you updated on the potential Weekend Update TV spinoff.