What are they thinking over at NBC? They’ve already got two show based on the backstage hijinks at Saturday Night Live, and they’re getting pretty strong signals that the theme’s not working as a drama or a comedy, that it doesn’t work in the hands of a “genius” hack like Aaron Sorkin or an amateur girlie like Tina Fey, And on many a Saturday night, they can see that the Saturday Night Live concept doesn’t even work as a live comedy sketch series!
So now they’re talking about throwing SNL’s Friday night rehearsals up on the Internet.NBC Universal’s chief digital officer George Kliavkoff revealed the idea at the Digital Entertainment Media & Marketing Excellence (whw!) conference in LA yesterday. It stems from the fact that the SNL rehearsals have been available for decades over the NBC closed circuit television system at the real 30 Rock. (When we worked at NBC many years ago, we’d keep an eye on the SNL feed channel for when the musical act was in to rehearse. Then we’d go down to the studio to watch in person. There are few sights more remarkable than Keith Richards tuning up at 10 am on a Thursday.) “It’s something we watch on the cameras at 30 Rock. Sometimes it’s a lot more interesting than the show,” he said.
We don’t remember the stop-and-start practice being particulary compelling. But why advertise that they’d actually done a run through of lame material more than 24 hours earlier? One of the joys of watching SNL (as with must-see viewing of other bad shows like Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip) is being surprised at how bad the sketches are. Watching them the night before would spoil the fun.
But in a week when 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan is busted again for drunk driving and reveals that he may still be as problematic as he was before he got the gig, there’s an even more bizarre footnote to all this:
It comes from Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times’ entertainment commentator, whose musings on television often read like she watches with a martini in her hand, and whose mistakes have inspired website watchlists. Today, she turns her eye to Studio 60 and 30 Rock and writes:
“At their best, the two shows are unequaled by anything else on network television.”