SNL Creator Talks Kate McKinnon/RBG, Studio 8H Return, COVID Concerns

With Saturday Night Live alumnus Chris Rock (Fargo) and rapper Megan Thee Stallion kicking off the comedy-variety series' 46th season back in Studio 8H on October 3rd (kicking off the first of five new episodes), SNL creator Lorne Michaels offered some additional updates on what viewers can expect this season during an interview with The New York Times. The obvious question first: with the show returning with a live studio audience, what pool will the audience be selected from the general public or from family/staff from NBC and SNL? The answer's still being worked on: "That's all still being sorted out."

Saturday Night Live
A look at who's hosting and the musical performance for Saturday Night Live Season 46 opener. (Image: NBC)

Even with the cast, writers, and staff/crews receiving regular COVID testing, Michaels and the others still have health concerns- and Michaels makes it clear that he's still not sure they can make the magic happen. "We don't know that we're going to be able to pull it off. We're going to be as surprised as everyone else when it actually goes on," he explained. "We just have to stay clean and focused until October 3rd. And then we do five shows in a row." Finally, there's the matter of how the death of popular Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will impact Kate McKinnon's portrayal. Asked if Justice Ginsburg's passing will mean the character being retired on-screen, Michaels gave a blunt, direct answer that doesn't appear to leave much doubt: "I doubt it."

SNL Star Kate McKinnon Pays Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg
L – Kate McKinnon / R – Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Image courtesy of Lev Radin and Rob Crandall /

Saturday Night Live's 46th season includes Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, and Bowen Yang. Che and Jost serve as head writers, with Bryan Tucker serving as senior writer. Lauren Holt (The Filth), Punkie Johnson (Space Force), and Andrew Dismukes (Comedy Central's Colossal ClusterFest, New York Comedy Festival) are joining the cast as feature players. Alec Baldwin returns as Donald Trump, with Maya Rudolph joining them as Kamala Harris, and Jim Carrey as Joe Biden (Bennett will continue as Michael Pence).

Not including specials and digital series, SNL has won 72 Emmy Awards, the most for any show in television history. SNL also holds the title for the most nominated television show in Emmy history with 270 nominations (once again, not including specials and digital series). The long-running sketch comedy and musical series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels, produced by Steve Higgins and Erik Kenward, and directed by Don Roy King. Ken Aymong serves as a supervising producer, with Lindsay Shookus, Erin Doyle, and Tom Broecker producing. The series is produced by SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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