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‘SNL’ to produce summer ‘Weekend Update’ specials

Michael Che, left, and Colin Jost will host

Michael Che, left, and Colin Jost will host "Weekend Updates" this August. Credit: Getty Images / Dave Kotinsky

“Saturday Night Live” will produce four “Weekend Update” specials to air Thursdays this August, the network announced Tuesday. Each will star the current co-hosts, Michael Che and Colin Jost, along with “additional” cast member appearances.

This is a reach back to the past when “SNL” provided a series of “Updates” in the run-up to the 2008 election, and again last summer when Che and Jost also produced some specials for MSNBC during the conventions. Advantages are obvious: “SNL” keeps the brand in front of fans awaiting the new season, and keeps it current when the rest of late-night TV continues to dine out on the current political climate.

Here’s the other rationale, from NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt, who said in a statement: “ ‘SNL’ is having its best season in a quarter of a century — how many shows can say that?! — so we didn’t want them to take the summer off.”

He’s right about that huge postelection boost, enjoyed by other late-night shows, notably “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and “The Daily Show,” which are also preoccupied with a new president. “SNL’s” boost is particularly pronounced, as numbers provided by the network, also reported elsewhere in recent weeks, continue to demonstrate. The show this season has been seen by an average of 11 million viewers over a 7-day period, or the biggest crowd in 24 years. Politico first reported last month that NBC will be exploring a weekly “Weekend Update” series to “help NBC capitalize on a topsy turvy news cycle.” NBC stopped short of establishing a weekly franchise and instead went to this series of summer specials, but the intent remains the same: Capitalize on a news cycle that continues to provide grist on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis,

The series will launch Aug. 10, and air at 9 p.m.


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