History of Saturday Night Live (2005–10)

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History of Saturday Night Live series:

1975–1980
(seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
1980–1985
(seasons 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
1985–1990
(seasons 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
1990–1995
(seasons 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
1995–2000
(seasons 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
2000–2005
(seasons 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
2005–2010
(seasons 31, 32, 33, 34, 35)
2010–present
(seasons 36, 37, 38, 39, 40)
Weekend Update

This article is about the history of Saturday Night Live from 2005–2010.

2005–2006 season[edit]

Saturday Night Live promised changes for the 2005–2006 season, one of which was broadcasting in high-definition. Lorne Michaels added four new featured players: Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis, who was added for the last three episodes of the previous season. Hader has become popular for his impersonations, such as Vincent Price, Lindsey Buckingham, Al Pacino, Alan Alda, James Carville, John Boehner, Julian Assange, and many others. Hader has also created multiple signature characters. These characters included New York City correspondent Stefon, Italian talk show host Vinny Vedecci, and Hollywood gossip reporter Brady Trunk as well as many others. Hired along with Samberg were his longtime friends and The Lonely Island collaborators Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, who joined the writing staff. The three would create a new SNL mainstay feature in the SNL Digital Shorts, the most popular being "Lazy Sunday". Wiig, who first appeared when Jason Lee hosted, gained popularity with impersonations of Felicity Huffman and Megan Mullally, and creating memorable characters such as the Female A-Hole and Target Lady. Lorne Michaels extended her contract until the 35th season (though she wouldn't officially leave the show until season 37).

Leaving after the 2006 season were Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey, who had committed to working on Fey's new sitcom 30 Rock, as well as Horatio Sanz, Finesse Mitchell, and Chris Parnell, who were let go due to budget cuts.

Opening montage[edit]

The opening montage for the 2005 season was identical to that of the 2004 season, except for several minor variations: the names of new cast members were shown, the names displayed in a different font. It also began broadcasting in widescreen and high definition.

Bumper format[edit]

The 2005–2006 commercial bumper formats featured a picture of the host in a white background, with the logo saying "Saturday Night Live", or just "SNL".

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]

  • Tina Fey, absent on maternity leave for the first two episodes, returns for the Catherine Zeta-Jones/Franz Ferdinand episode. Maya Rudolph is also absent on maternity leave for several episodes, and returns for the Steve Martin/Prince episode. Rudolph then takes a second hiatus before the end of the season for undisclosed reasons.
  • With the March 11, 2006 broadcast, Tina Fey surpasses Dennis Miller as SNL's longest-tenured Weekend Update anchorperson.
  • Kenan Thompson and Finesse Mitchell are upgraded to contract players.
  • Bill Hader and Andy Samberg are added to the cast as feature players. Kristen Wiig is added to the cast in November, becoming the first new female cast member since the 2001–2002 season.
  • Hader and Samberg also joined Thompson as the latest cast members to be born after SNL's premiere. Thompson, Hader, and Samberg all share 1978 as their birth year and were born in the spring/summer of that year (Thompson was born in May 1978, Hader was born in June 1978, and Samberg was born in August 1978). As of the 2013-2014 season, Thompson is the only 1978-born cast member still on the show.
  • This is the first season of SNL broadcast in HDTV.
  • Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg's Lazy Sunday skit is featured in an episode hosted by Jack Black. It quickly becomes an Internet phenomenon and brought about a return to the popularity of SNL's short films/pre-taped sketches.
  • For the first time since 1998, a former SNL cast member has died. Charles Rocket, a member of the critically abysmal season six (1980–1981) cast was found dead in his yard in Connecticut with a slashed throat. The police ruled his death a suicide, making Rocket the first deceased Weekend Update anchor, the first SNL cast member to die from an intentional suicide (as opposed to the accidental overdoses that claimed the lives of John Belushi and Chris Farley), and the only SNL cast member who never worked with Lorne Michaels to be dead. Rocket was also the oldest SNL cast member to die (at age 56, beating out Michael O'Donoghue, who was 54 when he died) until Tom Davis died in 2012 at age 59 of neck and throat cancer.
  • After her departure this season, Rachel Dratch surpassed Molly Shannon as the longest-serving female cast member in SNL history, a distinction that Amy Poehler would surpass three seasons later.
  • Steve Martin breaks his own record of being SNL's most frequent host. He would later break it again in season 34, and the record was later broken in season 37 by Alec Baldwin, who has hosted 16 times as of September 2011.
  • Season 31 is home to the first time a female cast member has returned to host. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who worked with Dick Ebersol from 1982 to 1985) returned to host in May 2006. She is also the third cast member from the sitcom Seinfeld to host SNL (after Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld himself).

2006–2007 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

The opening montage introduced on the 32nd season premiere involved the cast on a roof-top party in New York City. It was a completely new production from the previous montage, featuring a completely new logo and VTR. The font was in a plain greyish colour with bold lettering, where each word is progressively larger than the last in both the title and cast credits, with footage of New York City in the background. The musical guest and host's pictures are simply seen over top of the background footage instead of inserted onto a billboard like the previous season.

With the Jaime Pressly episode airing on October 7, 2006, the montage was changed slightly to include an SNL logo changed to a design and typeface identical to the 1981–1985 SNL logo. The pictures of the host and musical guest were placed over the entire screen, instead of over the New York City footage. This new montage was also used for the rerun for the Dane Cook/The Killers episode, replacing the originally-aired one.

Also changing for the October 14, 2006 repeat was the logo. The logo kept the same look, but condensed to look thinner, and to fit wide screen.

Bumper format[edit]

The commercial bumpers featured the host and musical guest in a solid color background, that featured many colors. The logo usually featured the current logo of "Saturday Night Live", or bold lettering of "SNL". The font is Gotham Ultra Bold.

Cast changes[edit]

SNL had a smaller cast in the 2006–2007 season due to “massive budget cuts” at NBC.[1] Lorne Michaels told members of the Television Critics Association that cutting staff was chosen over reducing from 20 the number of original episodes produced. In an interview with the NY Post, Lorne Michaels said the new season will be one of the few that do not feature a new cast member, and he specifically hired a large cast for the 2005–2006 season knowing that budget cuts were around the corner. A separate announcement confirmed the departure of Tina Fey, who left to focus on her new show 30 Rock.[2] Rachel Dratch, one of the stars in the 30 Rock pilot (though subsequently replaced by Jane Krakowski), also did not return.[3]

Amy Poehler announced on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that Seth Meyers would replace Tina Fey as co-anchor on Weekend Update.

Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis were all promoted to repertory players at the beginning of their second season (the third for Sudeikis including his role as a featured member).

The final cast list included just 11 members, the lowest number since the 1997–1998 season.

Cast[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Seth Meyers shares head writer status with Paula Pell and Andrew Steele (writer). Due to this position, like Fey before him, he appears rarely on the show outside of Weekend Update, but is credited as a repertory player. Pell returned to the show after her sitcom, Thick and Thin, wasn't picked up.

2007–2008 season[edit]

The 2007–2008 season of Saturday Night Live began on September 29, 2007 with LeBron James hosting the episode and musical guest Kanye West. Production was suspended due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, after which only four episodes were produced. The show's first episode after the writers' strike was aired on February 23, 2008, with former head writer Tina Fey as host.[4]

Opening montage[edit]

The opening montage for the 2007–2008 season was identical to that of the previous season, though the artwork for the host and musical guest is now a black and white portrait.

Bumper format[edit]

Instead of featuring a solid color background, the background colors for the bumpers were usually white. There were rare occasions of the background being black, or gray. The logo was the same as last season, either featuring the full current logo, "Saturday Night Live", or featuring a bold lettering of "SNL". The logos featured different colors.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]

  • The first four episodes feature the same cast as Season 32. By the time the show returned in February 2008 after the writer's strike, Maya Rudolph had left the show (and it would take another seven years before another black female cast member would be hired). Casey Wilson was hired as a featured player to take her place.
  • Casey Wilson is the first new cast member to join the show in over two years. Wilson is also SNL's first cast member born in the 1980s.
  • Amy Poehler was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on the show.
  • Due to the writer's strike, this was SNL's shortest season (beating out seasons six and thirteen, which were also cut short due to writers' strikes involving the Writers' Guild of America, but managed to have 13 episodes each before the show went on hiatus due to the strikes), containing only 12 episodes, and the only strike-shortened season to continue after the strike ended. The first four episodes of season 33 aired in the fall of 2007 (hosted by basketball player LeBron James, comic actor Seth Rogen, Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi, and news anchor Brian Williams) before the show went on hiatus until February 2008, when it resumed production until May of that year.
    • Brian Williams becomes the first network news anchor to host Saturday Night Live.
  • During the summer reruns, the scheduled rerun of the episode hosted by Ellen Page was replaced with the rebroadcast of SNL's very first episode hosted by George Carlin, as Carlin died of heart failure in June 2008.

2008–2009 season[edit]

The 2008–2009 season of Saturday Night Live began September 13, 2008 with host Michael Phelps and musical guest Lil' Wayne.

Opening montage[edit]

The opening montage remains the same as the last two seasons, but this time, the majority of the opening is in black and white, while the cast credits remain in color. The "SNL" logo and the cast credits appear smaller to fit into the 4:3 "safe area". In the second episode of the season, the video for Casey Wilson's credit was changed. In the fourth episode, the show went back to being shown in letterbox in some markets.

Bumper format[edit]

The bumpers now have variously colored backdrops instead of the plain white from last season. The season's first three episodes had the "SNL" logo within the 4:3 "title-safe area." From episode 4 and on, however, the logo has been in the 16:9 title-safe area.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]

  • At its annual fall schedule presentation on April 2, 2008, NBC revealed it would air three half-hour episodes of "SNL Thursday Night Live", a presidential election-themed Weekend Update special, on Thursdays starting October 16, 2008.[5]
  • Amy Poehler left the show in mid-December to work on her new show, Parks and Recreation.
  • Bobby Moynihan, Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins join the cast this season as featured players, the latter two coming in during Poehler's maternity leave.
  • This season had 22 episodes instead of the usual 20 to make up for the episodes left unproduced during the 2007-2008 Writers' Guild strike. As of this season, all of SNL's seasons would have 22 episodes instead of 20 (though seasons 38 [2012-2013] and 39 [2013-2014] have 21 episodes).
  • Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey and Justin Timberlake would receive Emmy nominations for the work on the show, Poehler and Wiig for their work as cast members, Fey as a guest actress, and Timberlake as a guest actor.
  • With this season, Abby Elliott is the first child of a former SNL cast member to be a cast member. She is the daughter of season 20 (1994–1995 season) cast member Chris Elliott.
  • Darrell Hammond leaves after this season. At 14 years (1995–2009), Hammond is now the longest-running white male repertory cast member in SNL history.
  • Featured players Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins were let go after this season. With this season, Casey Wilson is now the first former cast member born after SNL's premiere (Wilson was born in 1980).

2009–2010 season[edit]

The 2009–2010 season of Saturday Night Live began September 26, 2009 with host Megan Fox and musical guest U2.

Opening montage[edit]

The opening montage introduced on the 35th season premiere featured the cast in random places in New York City. The montage features the same logo as the previous seasons but instead of the greyish color it's now a light greenish color with bold lettering. The host and musical guest are pictures cover the entire screen when introduced. In the second episode the host and musical guest have a small picture that is circled with bright colors, the background features it going down a city street.

Bumper format[edit]

The commercial bumpers featured the host and musical guest in a light color background. The logo usually featured the current logo of "Saturday Night Live", or bold lettering of "SNL" (often with the number "35" attached to commemorate SNL's 35 years on the air).

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]

  • Departed featured players Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins are replaced by newcomers Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate.
    • Nasim Pedrad is the first Middle Eastern SNL cast member and the fifth cast member to be born outside of North America (after the Italian-born Tony Rosato, the New Zealand-born Pamela Stephenson, the England-born Morwenna Banks, and the Chilean-born Horatio Sanz).
  • This season is the first without Darrell Hammond, the last cast member from the 1990s. Hammond left the show after a record setting 14 season run.
    • With Hammond gone, Seth Meyers is now currently the longest-running cast member, having been on the show since 2001, Fred Armisen is now the oldest cast member and the only cast member who was born before 1970 (Armisen was born in 1966), and the entire cast consists of people who were hired in 2001 or later.
  • The Gerard Butler/Shakira episode is the first time that a sole advertiser (Anheiser-Busch's Bud Light Golden Wheat) bought all national ad time. In exchange, SNL aired outtakes (some of which are from sketches that never aired due to actors flubbing lines or cracking up too much to stay in character) from various sketches from the 1990s and the 2000s.
  • In early 2010 an online campaign was created on Facebook to get actress Betty White to host an episode of SNL. The group was called Betty White to Host SNL (please?)![6] The movement was sparked by White's appearance in a Snickers commercial aired during Super Bowl XLIV. Following the Super Bowl, White said she would accept if offered the opportunity to host.[7] In March 2010, White confirmed that she will be hosting the May 8 episode.[8] Entertainment Weekly reported that she may appear during the "Women of SNL" special, but producer Lorne Michaels denied it.[9]
  • This season featured many milestones set by the hosts and musical guests:
    • Sigourney Weaver now has the longest between appearances at 24 years (her first hosting appearance was the season 12 premiere episode in 1986), beating out Madeline Kahn, who had an 18-year gap between her second appearance in 1977 and her third and final appearance in 1995. Weaver's record was broken again in the 2010-2011 season, by Jeff Bridges, who has a 27-year gap between appearances (Jeff Bridges first hosted SNL with his brother, Beau, in 1983).
    • Jennifer Lopez is now the first Hispanic celebrity to be a simultaneous host and musical guest for more than one episode (Lopez first hosted and was musical guest in a season 26 episode in 2001).
    • Tina Fey is now the first Lorne Michaels-era former female cast member to host more than one episode and the second former female cast member overall to host more than one episode, following Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
    • Taylor Lautner is now the first seventeen-year-old male celebrity to host SNL (the other three 17-year-olds who have hosted—The Olsen twins and Lindsay Lohan—were female).
    • Betty White is now the oldest celebrity to ever host SNL at age 88½, beating out the 80-year-old Miskel Spillman (the winner of SNL's "Anyone Can Host" contest back in 1977), the second cast member from The Golden Girls to host SNL (after Bea Arthur, who hosted prior to starring in The Golden Girls in a season five episode in 1979), and is the first celebrity to be chosen to host SNL based on an online petition.
    • Alec Baldwin now ties with Steve Martin for most frequent male SNL host (both Baldwin and Martin have hosted 15 times). Baldwin's episode is also the first time he ever hosted a season finale. Two seasons later, Baldwin would break Steve Martin's record of most episodes hosted.
    • Drew Barrymore is now the most frequent female SNL host. Barrymore has hosted six times, breaking the tie she once held with Candice Bergen.
    • Justin Bieber, at age 16, is now the youngest male solo musical guest to appear on SNL.
  • This is the last season featuring Will Forte, who was on the show since 2002 and the only season for Jenny Slate, whose contract was not renewed for another season.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SNL Cast To Shrink, a July 2006 article from Broadcasting & Cable
  2. ^ Tina Fey Leaving 'Saturday Night Live' for Prime-Time Comedy Show, a July 2006 Associated Press article via Fox News
  3. ^ Fey, Dratch leaving SNL for 30 Rock, a July 2006 Associated Press article via the San Jose Mercury News website
  4. ^ "Tina Fey To Host First Post-Strike Episode of ‘SNL’". New York Times. February 12, 2008. 
  5. ^ Philpot, Robert. "NBC releases lineup far in advance", "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", April 3, 2008. Accessed April 4, 2008.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Kinon, Cristina (March 12, 2010). "Inner Tube: Betty White confirmed as host of NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' on May 8". Daily News (New York). 
  9. ^ http://jezebel.com/5484266/snl-honcho-confirms-women-of-comedy-special-but-no-betty-white-yet
  10. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (September 7, 2010). "‘Saturday Night Live' Cast Adds Four and Loses One More". The New York Times.