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10/13/14

Live wait: Why SNL always manages to resurrect itself from ashes

The trials and tribulations, up and downs and cyclical nature that is "Saturday Night Live" finds itself in a bit of a valley since last season and through the most recent episode.
The cast is a hodgepodge of established talent and newer, no names that haven't found their niche. Worse yet, the ones that have returned for a second season and who were rookies last year really never caught on as being mainstays with real staying power.
A good bit of last year's cast either left or weren't renewed, leaving a few must see, not ready for TV but hardly the well rounded, charismatic cast that the show had only a few years ago. Some TV titans will point to the show losing the likes of Kristin Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samburg, among others, as key reasons the show has waned in the ratings in recent years.
Truthfully, "Saturday Night Live" isn't a long term career, but rather a pit stop for the talented to showcase what they can do and then turn it into a long standing movie career or television supremacy. Samburg, for instance, is enjoying the fame of a hit television show, "Brooklyn Nine Nine," and Wiig and Sudeikis have budding movie careers.
Simply put, SNL is a platform, or better yet springboard, for comedians and actors to revel in the spotlight that is late Saturday night in the hopes that they have enough sketches and exposure to catch the eye of television or movie producers.

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Think of it as the equivalent of a minor league baseball team grooming talent for the main roster.
Now, that isn't to suggest "Saturday Night Live" is lackluster or a second rate show for talentless performers. To the credit of Lorne Michaels and the rest of the producers and writers of the show, SNL often is the barometer of pop culture that lets the world know what is hip, trendy and ultimately funny from one week to the next. They're able to garner attention with marquee, A list guest hosts and the hottest musical acts you can find.
But like any show that has its pocket picked as far as talent leaving for greener pasture, you have to expect the highs and lows in terms of not only popularity and relevancy but also ratings. Sure, the ratings this season are paltry but that's just because the show has to regroup and allow the current crop of talent to find their niche.
Some of them already have, just not enough at the moment to have the show running like the well oiled machine it can be. Much like how a professional sports team is in a "rebuilding" season, SNL finds itself in that same spot.
Like any exceptional brand, SNL will find its way again and reestablish itself as must see television.

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