When Saturday Night Live returns for its 46th season, the cast and crew will be back to the way they been doing things since its premiere on NBC in 1975 performing at the studio. Sources tell Variety, creator Lorne Michaels and company plan to return to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to pick where they left when quarantine forced production to each cast's homes. When approached, NBC declined to comment on anything in regard to the long-running variety series. The network remains hesitant to announce a return date given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defining Saturday Night Life's Future for Season 46 and Beyond
One plan for SNL Variety suspects potentially scraps the live audience at least initially as shooting remains in a more controlled environment. Michaels, who also produces The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, already built a template for the weekday late-night program. Fallon resumed his hosting duties in the studio with the Roots properly socially distanced while guests video conference for interviews. In the age of quarantine, Zoom provided an outlet for productions without compromising safety protocols. Not that Fallon is the first, nor is he to last conferencing his interviews. Long before the COVID-19 outbreak ravaged the world, it was the format for the Adult Swim animation-live action hybrid talk series Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
As SNL decided to shift focus to cast's homes working in smaller groups to film their sketches. Given the discombobulated nature of social distancing, surprise guests, and creative editing, SNL was able to produce three @home episodes with taped skits to close the seasons. That's not to say the cast hasn't kept busy to themselves with additional projects with Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, and Michael Che continuing other ventures through Michael's company Broadway video on multiple platforms. You can catch past seasons of SNL on Hulu and the NBC Universal streamer Peacock.