By Brian Steinberg
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Here’s a new headline about the hosts of the long-running “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live”: Colin Jost and Michael Che will get a limited run in primetime in August when NBC airs four half-hour broadcasts of the faux-news showcase that generates very real discussion about current events.
Additional “Saturday Night Live” cast members will also make appearances during the run, NBC said Tuesday.
NBCUniversal has given extra assignments to the “Update” anchors several times in the past. Jost and Che made some off-kilter appearances last summer in late-night on MSNBC, offering a few jokes after the wrap-ups of the network’s coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler co-anchored a three-episode limited run on Thursday nights in the fall of 2008, just before the presidential election pitting Barack Obama against John McCain. In 2009, NBC trotted “Update” in primetime again for three episodes, with another two broadcast in primetime in 2012.
And NBC has shown interest in the recent past in keeping some elements of Lorne Michael’s venerable late-night show on the air after the regular season, Last summer, NBC ran “Maya & Marty,” a Michaels production featuring antics from Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Kenan Thompson and Mikey Day.
But in this current season, “SNL” has expanded its cachet. Its ratings have soared in the wake of the election of Donald Trump to President of the United States and the show’s decision to deploy Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon to do impressions of Trump, key staffers like Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway and Cabinet members including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Saturday Night Live” is enjoying its most-watched season in 24 years – since its 1992-1993 outing, when Adam Sandler and David Spade were in the cast and Dana Carvey took part in his final season with the show. Viewership for “SNL” original broadcasts among people between 18 and 49 is at its highest since the 2008-2009 season, which was Amy Poehler’s last as a cast member.