As someone who is “in the business” I thought my few tweaks to the current format of Saturday Night Live might be of interest. I quickly recalled that my relation to the actual entertainment industry is as the project manager of a cable network website, but decided to post anyway. Here, then, are my slight changes to improve SNL.
1) Limit the show to 1 hour in length. The current 90 minutes is stretching things too thin. Just like most of the current sketches go to long, everything after the second musical performance is superfluous. Cut back a half hour and really put your best sketches on display.
2) Start earlier. The show could run from 11 until midnight, the witching hour, as the send-off. You’ll get more viewers earlier anyhow – viewers used to late news, The Daily Show, [adult swim] and the like. Plus, by starting at 11 you could:
3) Mix things up sometimes. Start with Weekend Update or the musical guest or even a cartoon. Keep things fresh and less formulaic.
4) More Smigel. At least one cartoon per week. If South Park can keep up a weekly, topical cartoon, so can SNL. Plus, Smigel could even break out Triumph the Insult Comic Dog every once in a while. I don’t know how that would sit with Conan, but they’re both on NBC, so let’s do it.
5) Make the bands host. If you have someone truly charismatic/interesting/newsworthy as a performing act, let them host as well. Chris Martin of Coldplay or Bono immediately come to mind. And while we’re talking about hosts:
6) Make sure that the host can be funny. If they can’t, make them funny by adding them as window dressing or a foil in skits. Jeff Gordon’s surprising turn and Justin Timberlake’s riotous self-effacement are two great, recent examples.
That’s it. Half a dozen brief, simple changes that could positively impact the quality and ratings of SNL. I won’t hold my breath that any of them will ever happen.