Saturday Night Live (season 7)

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Saturday Night Live Season 7
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 7th season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original run October 3, 1981 – May 22, 1982
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

Saturday Night Live aired its seventh season during the 1981–1982 television season on NBC. The seventh season started on October 3, 1981 and ended on May 22, 1982. A total of 20 episodes were broadcast.

Following the dismissal of producer Jean Doumanian and most of her cast members (repertory players Gilbert Gottfried, Ann Risley, and Charles Rocket and feature players Yvonne Hudson, Patrick Weathers, and Matthew Laurance), the show was shut down due to the commencement of the 1981 WGA strike.

Dick Ebersol, the program's developer, was hired as Doumanian's replacement. The new cast of Saturday Night Live for this season were the same ones from the episode Ebersol produced on the April 11, 1981 episode: Robin Duke, Tim Kazurinsky and Tony Rosato along with the Doumanian era's sole survivors Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Denny Dillon and Gail Matthius were fired following the April 1981 episode while Laurie Metcalf and unseen castmember Emily Prager weren't asked back to be cast members on the show.

Ebersol then hired two new cast members: Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole. Both were hired to fill the gap left by Metcalf and Prager.

Wanting to distance the show from its first five seasons, Ebersol cut the popular opening line Live from New York, It's Saturday Night! from the cold openings. In fact, sometimes cold openings weren't even shown and the monologues were skipped over almost entirely. These changes were not permanent, as Ebersol decided to reverse them for the eighth season.

Another thing he changed was Weekend Update. The segment went through its first name change and became "SNL Newsbreak". At the newsdesk was feature player Brian Doyle-Murray with Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole alternating as co-anchor. Doyle-Murray also became the first Weekend Update anchor of the show to be a featured player while serving as anchor. The only other anchors to do this were Tina Fey and Colin Jost.

Additionally, this was the only season without announcer Don Pardo. Instead the voice-overs were done by Mel Brandt, except for two episodes that aired in December 1981 where veteran NBC News announcer Bill Hanrahan handled such duties.

During the season, original cast member John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin. The original airing of the episode hosted by Robert Urich had a tribute to Belushi.

This was also the final season for Doyle-Murray, Ebersole and Rosato. All were let go to make room for new cast members in the following season.


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor



Saturday Night Live season 7 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
120 1 (none) Rod Stewart October 3, 1981
Christine Ebersole and Mary Gross's first episode as cast members. Brian Doyle-Murray rejoins the cast after a one year hiatus. A short film made by Yoko Ono is presented. Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis. Rod Stewart performs Hot Legs with Tina Turner.
121 2 Susan Saint James The Kinks October 10, 1981
Susan Saint James delivers a monologue. Eddie Murphy debuts his Buckwheat character. The episode features a film by Andy Aaron called Push Button to Explode Building with Tom Davis and Emily Prager. It also features Sadat, a film by John Fox. Brian McConnachie plays the title character in another film, Let's See What's Bothering Bob.
122 3 George Kennedy Miles Davis October 17, 1981
Harry Anderson does a stand up and magic routine in this episode. Regis Philbin and Ron Howard appear in the cold open as contestants. John Candy appears as Juan Gavino during the SNL Newsbreak segment.
123 4 Donald Pleasence Fear October 31, 1981
In the cold opening, Eddie Murphy suggests to Donald Pleasence to vomit for luck. As Eddie leaves the bathroom, John Belushi appears from the other stall, stares into the camera, and says nothing. Fear performs "I Don’t Care About You," "Beef Bologna," "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones," and "Let's Have a War." Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis. Neil Levy plays the corpse in the "I'm So Miserable" sketch.
124 5 Lauren Hutton Rick James November 7, 1981
Beat-generation writer William S. Burroughs makes a guest appearance, performing spoken word.
125 6 Bernadette Peters The Go-Go's
Billy Joel
November 14, 1981
Bernadette Peters opens with a parody of a US Army hygiene film as Betty Boop in Johnny Keep Your Gun Clean. Peters also performs a song filled with masturbation innuendo called "Making Love Alone." Joel performs live from a Manhattan recording studio.
126 7 Tim Curry Meat Loaf December 5, 1981
Frank Nelson cameos in the "Mick!" variety special sketch. The Rocky Horror Picture Show co-stars Curry and Meat Loaf appear in a parody sketch where they sell chintzy "Rocky Horror"-related merchandise.
127 8 Bill Murray The Spinners
The Whiffenpoofs
December 12, 1981
Bill Murray delivers a short monologue about Santa and introduces "Saint Nick." Guest appearances by Father Guido Sarducci and juggler Michael Davis.
128 9 Robert Conrad The Allman Brothers Band January 23, 1982
129 10 John Madden Jennifer Holliday January 30, 1982
Andy Kaufman makes a special guest appearance as Elvis Presley.
130 11 James Coburn Lindsey Buckingham February 6, 1982
Guest appearance by Marc Weiner.
131 12 Bruce Dern Luther Vandross February 20, 1982
132 13 Elizabeth Ashley Hall & Oates February 27, 1982
Harry Anderson performs a stand up and magic routine.
133 14 Robert Urich Mink DeVille March 20, 1982
Brian Doyle-Murray gives tribute to John Belushi, who died two weeks before this show aired, at the episode's conclusion.
134 15 Blythe Danner Rickie Lee Jones March 27, 1982
Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis.
135 16 Daniel J. Travanti John Cougar Mellencamp April 10, 1982
Travanti's Hill Street Blues co-star Bruce Weitz appears in a Hill Street parody.
136 17 Johnny Cash Elton John April 17, 1982
Elton John performs "Empty Garden" and "Ball & Chain."
137 18 Robert Culp The Charlie Daniels Band April 24, 1982
138 19 Danny DeVito Sparks May 15, 1982
During his monologue, DeVito brings his castmates from Taxi for a farewell bow after ABC canceled the show (NBC later picked up the sitcom). DeVito appears in a film where he blew up the ABC corporate headquarters. Andy Kaufman also appears later to apologize for wrestling women. Sparks performs "I Predict" and "Mickey Mouse" - the latter with an introductory monologue by Ron Mael - from its album Angst in My Pants.
139 20 Olivia Newton-John Olivia Newton-John May 22, 1982
Brian Doyle-Murray, Tony Rosato and Christine Ebersole's final episode as cast members. Guest Graham Chapman appears in several sketches and in the SNL NewsBreak with a humorous promotion for the new movie The Secret Policeman's Other Ball. Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis.