Good news for comedy fans! When "Saturday Night Live" returns in the fall there will be less ads and more sketches.
NBC announced Monday that in Season 42 of the long-running improv-comedy show there will be about 30 percent fewer advertisements. The network is cutting two commercial breaks from the current format to make more time for sketches and stay competitive in a digital media landscape. The move represents a shift towards more targeted ads and even has a sponsored content component for key brand partners.
“Since 1975, ‘SNL’ has shaped and driven conversation. We are excited to try something new and unique that will shape and drive advertiser content too,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCUniversal. “By partnering together, advertisers can capture an audience that only ‘SNL’ can deliver.”
The change should appeal to the show's predominantly younger audience, which tends to be less forgiving of interruptions to the content experience. However, it could provide some logistical difficulties for "Saturday Night Live" producers. The live broadcast relies on commercial breaks for wardrobe and set changes. On the flip side, there will be time for more content for a show that must famously cut multiple sketches for time every week.
"As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown," Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," said in a statement. "This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live."
The move appears to be forward-thinking and not a reaction to any ratings struggle. "Saturday Night Live" is currently averaging 6.4 million viewers per episode and scoring a 1.9 rating in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic season-to-date, according to Variety. That is essentially the same amount of viewers the show was netting in its previous season.