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'Saturday Night Live' to return this week

"Weekend Update" anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che

"Weekend Update" anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che do their segment on the Dec. 7, 2019, episode of "Saturday Night Live."   Credit: NBC / Will Heath

"Saturday Night Live" is back — sort of. Nearly a month after ending its 45th season at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBC franchise will return this Saturday with an at-home version to include "Weekend Update" and various pieces by cast members.

Because the show will originate remotely and not from Studio 8H, only portions are expected to be live. Variety, which first reported the April 11 return, said, "It will likely not be live in the way viewers normally expect." 

Indeed, NBC said, "material will be produced remotely as 'SNL' practices social distancing," while adding that "show elements will include 'Weekend Update' and other original content from 'SNL' cast members." The show will air in its regular time slot at 11:30 p.m.

"SNL" was just one of nearly a dozen late-night TV casualties in mid-March, at the outset of the pandemic, although most of those returned two weeks ago with scaled-down at-home versions. "SNL" was in the midst of a hiatus at the time and scheduled to return March 28. When the plug was pulled, NBC said in a statement, “We will monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows on an ongoing basis as further information develops.”

It's unclear whether other classic elements — a guest host, or a musical guest, for example — will be included, but those seemed unlikely. The network provided no other details about the return, most notably whether this will be a one-time-only re-entry or the beginning of what may be a long at-home trek to the 45th season finish line this May. 

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