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'Saturday Night Live' to mark 40th with 3-hour show Feb. 15

This photo, provided by Universal Studios Home Entertainment,

This photo, provided by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, shows members the original NBC Saturday Night Live cast from the sketch comedy show's 1975 season. From left, are Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Credit: AP / Edie Baskin

It's been live from New York for nearly 40 years, and NBC plans on celebrating "Saturday Night Live" turning the big 4-0 with a live three-hour special next year on Feb. 15, the network announced Friday.

Current and past "SNL" cast members are expected to appear in the show, along with special guests and musical acts, although no names were formally announced.

NBC will technically be several months early with its celebration since the show didn't premiere until October 1975, but this fall will be the opening of the show's 40th season. Among the many stars who parlayed their fame on the show into successful film and television careers are Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Will Ferrell, Billy Crystal, Adam Sandler, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Recent "SNL" alums Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers have become kings of late night with talk shows on NBC.

The late-night sketch show is the brainchild of producer Lorne Michaels, 69, who still presides over the show. "This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate 'SNL's historic 40th season next year," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said.

"SNL" has won 40 Emmys, more than any TV show, and received Peabody Awards in 1990 and 2009.

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