For someone who had a bitter falling out with NBC just a few months ago -- and for a network that insisted the breach was permanent -- Donald Trump and his longtime network appear to have moved on, and moved on briskly. Or more likely, both have belatedly recognized that mutual self-interest is the way TV really works.
That's right -- the presidential hopeful and longtime "Apprentice" terminator-in-chief is coming home, and this time, he'll host "Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 7, his first return to Studio 8H since 2004 (when, incidentally, "The Apprentice" launched).
No comment from either, but there's no need for comment really. Here's what Trump would probably say, anyway: "This will be yuge. A ratings triumph for 'SNL,' which needs one!"
NBC might even agree with that assessment.
The timing -- coming on the afternoon of the first Democratic debate -- is certainly noteworthy. Also, Nov. 7 is just a few days after local elections around the country, so at least there's a putative hook for this hosting appearance, as if there needs to be one for Trump.
In some ways, this is yuge, and symbolically so. A return to "SNL' is certainly a bigger deal than a return to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" where he appeared last month, or to "Today," where he has continued to maintain a presence, as he has with Fox News (which he also threatened to boycott, if memory serves). He'll also appear on Jimmy Kimmel's Brooklyn editions next week; no feud with Kimmel (yet).
The symbolism of this move is what counts most. To host "SNL" means you are either a hot commodity (Amy Schumer), a hugely newsworthy personage (Hillary Clinton), or one of the world's biggest stars -- at least one of the biggest stars who has something to sell.
Instead, Trump is simply Trump, which (in some ways) is all three. The leading GOP candidate among twelve who have declared a run for the White House, he is without question one of the true ratings magnets of modern times. If at least by "modern times" one means since declaring his candidacy. The GOP debates set records for Fox and CNN, and clearly NBC wants a little bit of that ratings sugar too.
When or if Trump's "SNL" appearance a few weeks from now tops the ratings for Clinton's hosting appearance on the "SNL" season opener, you can be sure you will hear about it.
From Trump himself.
Meanwhile, let the fun (speculation) begin: How will Trump meet his doppelganger, Taran Killam? How will he meet Clinton's doppelganger, Kate McKinnon? Or Ben Carson's doppelganger, Kenan Thompson?
That's a lot of doppelganging. It could get messy.
Or: Will Trump perform a skit?
Let's see: Joe, the bartender? Or has that been done?
Maybe Trump will reprise "Donald Trump's House of Wings."
The possibilities may not be endless, but they are rich with possibility (or wings).
(Oh, almost forgot: Musical guest Nov. 7 is Sia).