You thought that maybe “Saturday Night Live” was going to ignore its 40th birthday?
NBC announced on Friday (April 18) that “Saturday Night Live” will celebrate its Ruby Anniversary next February with a three-hour orgy of clips, guests and back-patting.
Set for Sunday, February 15, 2015, the “Saturday Night Live” anniversary special will feature past and present cast members, as well as musical guests from the show's lengthy run. NBC will milk many months of coverage for the special by parsing out announcements over the next several months.
One thing we can say for sure? Generallissimo Francisco Franco will not be there. He's still dead.
“‘Saturday Night Live” is an institution unlike anything else in television history,” blurbs Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players” over the years is a who”s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers – to name only a few. This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild of Lorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today. This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL”s historic 40th season next year.”
Why is this celebration taking place next February? Well… ummm… We're not exactly sure. The first episode of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring George Carlin as host and Janis Ian & Billy Preston aired on October 15, 1975. Presumably NBC wanted to be able to give a full primetime block over to celebrating “SNL” and that was easier to do in spring when NBC doesn't have Sunday Night Football or wouldn't need to preempt new programming early in its fall run.
While “SNL” has done countless “Best of…” and holiday or politically themed primetime specials, the show hasn't done a full-on anniversary celebration since the 25th anniversary back in 1999.
You know the facts and the lore: Created by Lorne Michaels, “SNL” as won 40 Emmy Awards, most for any show in TV history. It has accumulated 171 Emmy nominations over the years and been honored by everybody from the Peabody Award selectors to the Television Critics Association.