Saturday Night Live (season 23)

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Saturday Night Live (season 23)
The title card for the twenty-third season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original network NBC
Original release September 27, 1997 (1997-09-27) – May 9, 1998 (1998-05-09)
Season chronology
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Season 22
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Season 24
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The twenty-third season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 27, 1997, and May 9, 1998.

Before the season, Colin Quinn was promoted to repertory status and Mark McKinney left the show. This season did not include any featured players or new cast members. It was also the only season to have an opening sequence that did not show any shots of New York City, instead featuring a 1950s-inspired design.

During the season, a controversy arose in which Weekend Update anchor Norm Macdonald was removed from the Update segment after angering NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer with his O. J. Simpson jokes. The weekly inclusion of O.J. jokes upset Ohlmeyer, who was good friends with Simpson. Ohlmeyer arranged to have Macdonald fired from the segment, but not from the show. Macdonald's final episode as Update anchor was on December 13, 1997. Quinn was then promoted to the job and anchored the segment in the next live episode, which aired January 10, 1998. Even though Macdonald still performed in sketches, he was not happy and eventually quit the show; his final appearance was on March 14, 1998.

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 roster[edit]