Saturday Night Live has had fans of comedy split into groups since its first major cast change in 1980. Since then, dozens of factions have formed who believe solely that “SNL stopped being funny when [INSERT NAME HERE] left the show.” That statement has been said about just about every past cast member going as far back as Chevy Chase and as current as Amy Pohler.
Recently, the show has had a resurgence in popularity. With the weekly digital shorts of Andy Samberg and his band, The Lonely Island, to some of the more popular skits getting made into feature-length films, such as MacGruber, which is in theaters Friday.
Two weeks ago, Lorne Michaels and his team did something a bit off-beat, and took a cue from a grassroots campaign through Facebook to get Betty White to host. The show got enormous ratings, pulling in nearly 12 million viewers during the live broadcast, which is a rarity in the era of DVR’s and HULU.
It seems that they were able to keep the ball rolling, as the next episode, which was this past Saturday’s season finale, pulled in some of the highest ratings for the show in half of a decade. The finale, which featured host Alec Baldwin and musical guest Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, averaged a 5.8 rating and a 14 share, which is the highest for a season finale since 2005 when Lindsay Lohan hosted.
“Saturday Night Live” was the #1 telecast of the night, topping all primetime programs on all major networks in metered-market results.
With numbers like these, it’s to be expected that NBC is willing to look for more unconventional hosts in the future. Host Alec Baldwin and previous host White had no real project to promote, but were there to deliver the laughs, which they did in spades.
Who could we see host the famed sketch show next season? No whispers just yet, but if we look to the fans once again, we could see Robert Downey Jr., Abe Vigoda, and Carol Burnett standing on the opening stage.