'SNL' Is Returning This Weekend with a Remotely Produced Episode Due to Coronavirus

"Show elements will include 'Weekend Update' and other original content from Saturday Night Live cast members," NBC said on Thursday

Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update - Season 1
Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

Saturday Night Live will be back on the air this weekend with its first new episode since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“Material will be produced remotely as SNL practices social distancing,” NBC said in a statement Thursday. “Show elements will include ‘Weekend Update’ and other original content from SNL cast members.”

NBC aired its last original SNL episode on March 7, with host Daniel Craig and musical guest The Weeknd.

The series, created and produced by Lorne Michaels, had been scheduled to come back from its planned hiatus on March 28 with host John Krasinski and musical guest Dua Lipa. But that episode, which was meant to be Krasinski’s debut on the series, was canceled on March 17.

At the time, NBC said they’d be monitoring the situation closely and make decisions about future shows on an ongoing basis.

Since then, the entire scripted entertainment industry has been put on pause, while daytime and late night shows like Live with Kelly and Ryan, The View, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — after a brief hiatus — have returned with new episodes produced remotely from their hosts’ homes.

Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson on SNL. Will Heath/NBC

SNL, which is currently in its 45th outing, is 16 episodes into its 21-episode season. It remains unclear whether the sketch series will continue to produce remote content for those final episodes.

Currently, the show counts Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and Melissa Villaseñor as full-time cast members. Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang are featured players.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 449,260 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the United States, with 16,108 deaths, according to The New York Times.

New York City, where SNL tapes, has been hit particularly hard. There are at least 87,028 cases and 5,150 deaths, more than any other city in the world.

Coronavirus has also hit the SNL cast personally. On Monday, Weekend Update anchor Che announced his grandmother had died after contracting the virus.

“I don’t know if I’ll lose someone else to this virus. I don’t even know if I’ll be lost to this virus,” Che wrote on Instagram. “I’m just frustrated, cause there’s so much we still don’t know about it.”

Saturday Night Live airs Saturday (at 11:30 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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