Monday, October 20, 2008

Why the Intertubes Could Really Help or Destroy SNL

So one of the big stories for Monday was Sarah Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live. I overheard on TWIT that her skit was actually posted online before it even aired in the west coast. With NBC posting SNL on Hulu and, this could either save the show or lead it to it's downfall.

Scenario 1: SNL becomes one of the best shows on television.

SNL is a sketch show. You don't need to watch one episode to the next to understand what's going on, hell you don't have to watch an entire episode. And most people don't. If you've noticed, the news isn't talking about any other skit from this weekend's show. I can also vouch that if it weren't for the few Macgruber skits, it may have been some of the worst television in a long time. How can Hulu or help this? Simple. Because SNL is skit based, they could record the number of hits certain skits receive and the most watched, higest rated, and most emailed would easily tell them what are the "best". This would allow them to keep the writers of those skits on staff, the actors in those scenes, and focus on the type of material that works. SNL has a better edge over other shows in that it would be difficult to tell from an episode of Lost of House which scene works or what dialog grabs a viewer's attention as they're whole 30-60 minute episodes.

Scenario 2: SNL has two more seasons and then no more

The problem that could occur is that SNL, NBC, and GE realize that only one or two skits a show are being viewed online or emailed. This would then cause them to question whether to keep a staff of writers and actors for a show that hardly anyone watches live and only a handfull of scenes are viewed online. This would lead SNL to become a YouTube member that people could subscribe to. Funny or Die and Ask Uncle Jay have perfected this by releasing material they know works, in small amounts, to a very large viewership. Lost and House wouldn't have these issues as they contain stories that overlap from episode to episode and require a constant viewership.

I hope scenario 1 pans out as SNL is one of the longest running shows on television for a reason and one of the main reasons I went into comedy. If Lorne Michaels accepts this new digital age and realizes the power of social media, we could see some the best comedy in a long time.

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