Saturday Night Live (season 23)

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Saturday Night Live Season 23
SNLseason23.jpg
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 23rd season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 27, 1997 – May 9, 1998
Season chronology
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24
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

Saturday Night Live aired its twenty-third season during the 1997–98 television season on NBC. The twenty-third season started September 27, 1997 and ended on May 9, 1998, with 20 episodes being produced. A few changes happened before the start of the season; Colin Quinn was promoted to repertory status and Mark McKinney left the show while Fred Wolf left in the start of the twenty-second season. This season was also notable for not having any featured players or any new cast members. This season was also the only season to have an opening sequence that didn't show any shots of New York City, being replaced by a 1950's-inspired design.

This season was notable for the controversy surrounding Weekend Update. Anchor Norm Macdonald angered NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer. Macdonald often told O. J. Simpson jokes in the Update segment which upset Ohlmeyer, who was good friends with Simpson and did not find the jokes funny. Ohlmeyer then fired Macdonald from the segment, but not from the show, since Ohlmeyer thought he did better in sketches than on Update. His final Update was in the episode hosted by Helen Hunt. Quinn was then promoted to the job and began anchoring the segment in the episode hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Even though Macdonald still performed in sketches, he was not happy and his stay on the show was short-lived. He ended up quitting the show a few months after getting demoted from Weekend Update. His final appearance was in the show hosted by Julianne Moore.

This season saw the deaths of two former cast members. Six weeks after he came back to host, Chris Farley became the fifth SNL cast member to die prematurely. Similar to his idol, John Belushi, Farley died of a speedball overdose at the age of 33. Two weeks after the season finale, long-time performer Phil Hartman was killed by his wife.

Cast[edit]