NBC’s New Strategy: Another ‘Saturday Night Live’

It’s no secret that NBC has struggled in recent years. The must-watch network that aired Seinfeld and Friends hasn’t had a comedic hit in years. Even 30 Rock — a awards show darling and critics’ favorite — was a ratings dud. The Hollywood Reporter reports today that NBC’s solution to this problem will be another Saturday Night Live. It won’t be SNL 2.0, per se, but NBC is apparently preparing another sketch comedy show, this one to air in primetime.

What NBC is doing here is creating a little comedy factory in which the network will pluck entertainers from comedy troupes like Upright Citizens Brigade and the Groundlings to make a name for themselves and then further their career making television shows for NBC and movies for Universal until all funny people anywhere are indebted to the peacock network and NBC owns the concept of comedy and no one will ever say they aren’t funny again or they’ll be punished. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, and if they do it right it could be a pretty good move for the network. The difficulty will be keeping the talent; of the most recent SNL cast members to leave, only Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph remained with NBC. Others like Andy Samberg, Casey Wilson and Kristen Wiig have landed elsewhere: Fox, ABC and the gold-plated world of movies.

The other thing this show will have to be is funny. It seems obvious, but SNL often gets a pass due to the history of the show. This new thing will need to be consistently great in order to garner any attention. NBC is off to a good start, bringing on Lou Wallach to develop the show. Wallach is the man behind Chapelle’s Show and The Colbert Report. Due to his successes with those two, we’ll forgive him for Crank Yankers. The show’s structure is still being developed, however, this one will not be live. THR floats out The Carol Burnett Show and In Living Color as possible inspirations.

As for who will star, Wallach will be overseeing a nationwide search sometime soon. So if you’re a comedian, remember that face, because it could be the one that gets you on the teevee. I know enough comedians to know that they would all literally kill someone for the chance to get on television.

Good luck to In Living Carol Burnett.


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