Network television has been booming amid the coronavirus crisis and Saturday Night Live is no exception. After taking a week off, Saturday Night Live had its first-ever remote show. The SNL cast and crew wrote and performed the show whist maintaining the social-distancing regulations. The show was pre-taped and cast members appeared individually in a fashion similar to the online e-learning and conferencing app Zoom.
According to Deadline, though the show was responded to with more or less mediocre reviews, the numbers saw a large increase compared to the last SNL original which aired on March 7. According to Nielsens, the March 7 show, hosted by Daniel Craig, averaged a 1.46 Live+Same Day adult 18-49 rating and 6.662 viewers overall. The latest show featured Tom Hanks, the self-described “celebrity canary in the coal mine for coronavirus”, as the celebrity host. It was this season’s second highest show, second only to the Dec. 21, 2019 show featuring Eddie Murphy.
In addition, compared to primetime programming on the other Big 4 networks, SNL was the star of the show, more than doubling the numbers for each of the Big 4 primetime shows in 18-49.
The show featured dedicated Zoom sketches as well as Zoom punchlines. The show lacked its typical array of elaborate props and costumes and most comedians filmed themselves in their homes and bedrooms. Certain sketches fell flat as a result, but the spirit of the show remained strong despite the current uncertain climate. It’s a strong message to the American people that a return to normalcy is still possible despite their isolated environment.