NBC’s Saturday Night Live will air live simultaneously across the country for the first time in its history, beginning April 15, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This final four episodes of the current season will be impacted by this schedule change, with the cast doing a live performance that airs in-schedule on the East Coast but in earlier time slots across the country and then is rebroadcast later for the Mountain and Pacific time zones, according to Variety.
The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon will host the episodes on April 15, followed by Chris Pine on May 6, Melissa McCarthy on May 13, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the season finale on May 20.
McCarthy’s caricature of White House press secretary Sean Spicer has been one of the most notable moments of the season, generating high ratings for the show.
“SNL — enjoying its most popular season in two decades — is part of the national conversation, and we thought it would be a great idea to broadcast to the west and mountain time zones live at the same time it’s being seen in the east and central time zones,” said NBC Entertainment Chair Bob Greenblatt in a statement. “That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time.”
SNL has been on a ratings high since President Trump’s upset victory in the 2016 presidential election, also by Alec Baldwin’s parody of the Trump. Viewership for the season to date is up 19 percent in adults 18-49 (3.5 vs. 2.9 rating) and up 22 percent in total viewers (10.6 million vs. 8.7 million) over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season, according to Variety.
Each episode will air live at 11:30 p.m. ET; 10:30 p.m. Central; 9:30 p.m. Mountain; and 8:30pm PT. (SNL will be repeated at 11:30pm in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.)
The magazine also reported that NBC recently unveiled plans to extend the run of the show into the summer. “Weekend Update” hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost will also get a limited run in primetime in August when NBC airs four half-hour broadcasts of the “faux-news” showcase.