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‘Saturday Night Live’ planning return to studio production this fall: report

2020-07-22

Saturday Night Live is sketching out plans to return to live studio production this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

Sources told Variety that boss Lorne Michaels is hoping to transition the legendary late-night show to a “controlled” environment at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan after its prior season ended with players appearing remotely due to COVID-19.

SNL has yet to announce a premiere date for its upcoming 46th season, but Michaels also oversees NBC’s “Tonight Show,” which recently returned to studio production with host Jimmy Fallon socially distanced from camera operators wearing masks.

Using Fallon as a “template,” new episodes of “SNL” could gain more flexibility in terms of staging at 30 Rock while still using video links to bring in celebrity guests from remote locations.

The return of a live audience for SNL next season isn’t likely, Variety reported.

NBC has incentive to get “SNL” back to a studio setting since seasons that overlap with presidential elections typically enjoy high ratings, Variety said.