Sunday, May 26, 2024

Lorne Michaels, King of NBC at Last, Will Be Exec Producer of SNL, Tonight, and Late Night


With the recent news about Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels solidifies his position as King of NBC.  Still with “SNL,” now Michaels takes on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and “Late Night” with Seth Meyers. I’m told Michaels will visit NBC on the West Coast next week to put the finishing touches on all these arrangements. He will retain the title of Executive Producer on all the shows, but let secondary producers run “Tonight” and “Late Night” on a day to day basis.

That’s right. I told you this on March 22nd before anyone else: Meyers is all but sewn up.

Michaels will now have three live shows running concurrently out of the same building, 30 Rock. I’m told  The guest booking alone will be overwhelming. Who does which show and when?

And then there’s the weekly grind of “SNL.” This season they lost Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. Jason Sudeikis is kind of gone. Meyers’ exit will be a blow since he’s head writer and does the “Weekend Update” news cast. “SNL” is going to be getting a major retooling. But there are some winners among the up and comers, especially Kate McKinnon and Taran Killam. Then you still have Bobby Moynihan, Kenan Thompson, and Fred Armisen. And Bill Hader remains Michaels’s true star. Will he stay another year? And why haven’t a savvy manager and agent come along and organized Hader into a big career? He’s actually kind of brilliant.

And so this new world opens up with Lorne Michaels, some 38 years after “Saturday Night Live” launched with the Not Ready for Prime Time Players. The inmates have finally taken over the asylum.

PS Maybe they’ll give him the Today show. He could fix it!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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