Saturday Night Live (season 34)

Saturday Night Live (season 34)

The thirty-fourth season of the variety series Saturday Night Live began airing in 2008 and concluded in 2009 on NBC. This season of Saturday Night Live consisted of 22 episodes, in an attempt to compensate for episodes lost during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. This made it the longest season since the show's second season.

The season began on September 13, 2008 on NBC, with Olympic swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps as host and Tina Fey appearing as Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, alongside Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, and rapper Lil Wayne as the musical guest. The show scored its highest-rated premiere since September 2001 and is the second most-watched SNL ever. The season premiere date of September 13 was earlier than the premiere date for previous seasons, which typically have started during the final weekend of September or in early October. However, a month later, the show drew its highest ratings in over 14 years when the real Sarah Palin appeared. SNL had 17 million viewers during its first half-hour.

Before the start of the season the cast remained mostly unchanged except for the addition of Bobby Moynihan. Moynihan (like Casey Wilson in the previous season) came to SNL as a performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater; in season 33, Moynihan and Wilson were among the group of Upright Citizens Brigade performers SNL auditioned mid-season while the show was looking for a new cast member to join after the writers' strike in early 2008. Moynihan did not make the cut in his season 33 audition, but instead ended up being invited back for another audition shortly before this season started. Wilson remained a featured player.

Midway through the season, cast member Amy Poehler went on maternity leave after giving birth to her son hours before the October 25, 2008 episode, hosted by Jon Hamm. Poehler returned on December 6, 2008 in the John Malkovich hosted episode and made her final appearance as a cast member the following week on the Hugh Laurie hosted episode on December 13, 2008. She announced that it would be her final show at the end of Weekend Update.

Shortly after Poehler went on maternity leave, the show added two new female cast members to fill the void. Michaela Watkins (of The Groundlings in Los Angeles) and Abby Elliott (daughter of former SNL cast member Chris Elliott) joined the show as featured players on November 15, 2008.

SNL received much media coverage for the show's take on the election, causing ratings to increase rapidly. The show was nominated for many awards including Emmy Awards, a Peabody award and nomination for Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2009. After gaining so much media coverage and high seasonal ratings, its rival sketch show, MADtv, ended in 2009 after 14 years due to low ratings and a dip in quality brought on by budget constraints and mediocre writing.

This season would also be the last for longtime cast member Darrell Hammond, the last remaining cast member from the 1990s, who had been on the show for a record 14 seasons. Featured players Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson were both let go after this season.

Read more about Saturday Night Live (season 34):  Cast, Episodes, Specials

Other articles related to "night":

Saturday Night Live (season 34) - Specials - Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday
... Saturday NightLive aired three special prime time half-hour episodes on Thursdays starting October 9 ... These specials,entitled Saturday NightLive Weekend Update Thursday,focused on the United States presidential election ... Episode Original airdate Episode 1"October 9,2008 Bill Murray as Himself)and Chris Parnell as moderator Tom Brokaw)make guest appearances in the cold opening Episode 2"October 16 ...

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