Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday

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Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday
SNL Weekend Update Thursday title card.png
Genre Comedy
News Parody
Created by Lorne Michaels[1]
Written by Seth Meyers (head writer)[1]
Directed by Don Roy King[1]
Presented by
Narrated by Don Pardo (season 1-3)
Darrell Hammond (season 4–present)
Theme music composer Jeff Richmond
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 11 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Lorne Michaels[1]
Producer(s) Steve Higgins
Marci Klein
Ken Aymong (supervising)[1]
Running time 30 minutes
Original network NBC
Original release October 9, 2008 (2008-10-09) – present
Related shows Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday is an American limited-run series broadcast on NBC. It is a political satire news show spin-off from Saturday Night Live, featuring that show's "Weekend Update" segment. It initially ran for three 30-minute episodes in October 2008, during the lead-up to the 2008 United States presidential election.

On March 14, 2017, NBC ordered a three-episode fourth iteration to be hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost, premiering August 10, 2017, and going by the title Weekend Update Summer Edition.

Production history[edit]

Fall 2008[edit]

It premiered on Thursday, October 9, 2008, at 9:30 p.m. ET, after The Office. The remaining episodes aired in the same timeslot on October 16 and 23.[2]

The format consists of a topical cold open sketch similar to most episodes of SNL, followed by an extended "Weekend Update" for the remaining time. The series is essentially a continuation of the short-form "primetime extra" specials which have aired intermittently since the 2000–2001 season, when NBC needed to fill time following "supersized" 40-minute episodes of Friends.

Several former Saturday Night Live alumni returned to this show: Will Ferrell reprised his role as President George W. Bush, while Tina Fey appeared as Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, in a continuation of her much-publicized appearances on the regular show. During the first show, Bill Murray appeared as himself, one of the undecided voters at the second presidential debate sketch. Chris Parnell appeared in the first two episodes as the moderators of the debates, Tom Brokaw and Bob Schieffer.

Fall 2009[edit]

Although originally intended to be a limited-run series, NBC announced on May 4, 2009, that they had ordered six new episodes of the show, making it the only show NBC introduced at the beginning of the 2008–2009 fall season to survive into a second term.[citation needed]

Darrell Hammond made guest appearances in the first three episodes, despite no longer being an SNL cast member. Former cast member Amy Poehler also returned as a special guest to co-anchor the first two episodes of the season. Although six were announced, the spring 2010 episodes were scrapped.

Fall 2012[edit]

NBC announced two SNL specials to be broadcast on 8 p.m. Thursday beginning September 20, 2012. This time around, the show was listed as "SNL Primetime Election Special" in some TV listings, but the actual on-air program retained its original title.

Summer 2017[edit]

On March 14, 2017, NBC announced a three-episode run of the series beginning August 10, 2017.[3] This time, the program takes on the title of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update: Summer Edition and, with the exception of the third episode, completely does away with the cold open sketch and goes right into the news.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 3 October 9, 2008 (2008-10-09) October 23, 2008 (2008-10-23)
2 3 September 17, 2009 (2009-09-17) October 1, 2009 (2009-10-01)
3 2 September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20) September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27)
4 3 August 10, 2017 (2017-08-10) August 24, 2017 (2017-08-24)

Season 1 (2008)[edit]

No. in
Original air date Special guest(s) U.S. viewers
1 1 October 9, 2008 (2008-10-09) Bill Murray and Chris Parnell 10.9[4]
  • Cold opening sketch features Darrell Hammond as Sen. John McCain and Fred Armisen as Sen. Barack Obama in the middle of the 2nd Presidential Debate.
  • Chris Parnell guest appears to reprise his Tom Brokaw impression and moderated the debate. Bill Murray also appears as townsperson "William Murray" asking a question.
2 2 October 16, 2008 (2008-10-16) Chris Parnell 8.8[5]
  • Cold opening sketch focuses the 3rd Presidential debate between McCain and Obama. Chris Parnell guest appears as Bob Schieffer and moderated the debate.
  • A new segment named "We Liked It" debuts.
3 3 October 23, 2008 (2008-10-23) Will Ferrell and Tina Fey 8.8[6]
The opening sketch features George W. Bush's (Will Ferrell) endorsement of a proud Sarah Palin (Tina Fey) and rather reluctant John McCain (Darrell Hammond).

Season 2 (2009)[edit]

Despite Lorne Michaels saying that three episodes would be airing in Fall 2009, then another three in early 2010, and three in Spring 2010,[7] there were only three Weekend Update Thursday installments that occurred in Fall 2009.

No. in
Original air date Special guest(s) U.S. viewers
4 1 September 17, 2009 (2009-09-17) Amy Poehler and Darrell Hammond 5.70
5 2 September 24, 2009 (2009-09-24) Amy Poehler, Megan Fox, and Darrell Hammond 4.66
6 3 October 1, 2009 (2009-10-01) Darrell Hammond and Maya Rudolph 5.08

Season 3 (2012)[edit]

No. in
Original air date Special guest(s) U.S. viewers
7 1 September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20) N/A 5.15
8 2 September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27) N/A 4.67

Season 4 (2017)[edit]

No. in
Original air date Special guest(s) U.S. viewers
9 1 August 10, 2017 (2017-08-10) Bill Hader 6.5[8]
10 2 August 17, 2017 (2017-08-17) Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Tina Fey 5.8[9]
11 3 August 24, 2017 (2017-08-24) Alec Baldwin 5.8[10]


External links[edit]