During the past two seasons, “Weekend Update” has been politically prescient in a way the segment has not in decades — and fans seem hungry for more commentary from anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che. In response, NBC aired four extended, stand-alone segments of the satirical news show this past summer to hold fans over while SNL was between seasons.
Now NBC has tapped the duo — who also serve as the show’s co-head writers — to host the 2018 Emmys telecast, marking the first time a current SNL cast member has hosted since Eddie Murphy in 1983. They are also the first duo to host since Jenna Elfman and David Hyde Pierce in 1999.
Recently, the awards show has been hosted by late-night personalities and sitcom stars, such as Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris and Jane Lynch.
Judging from NBC’s announcement, viewers can expect an SNL-heavy night.
“NBC is thrilled to be the home of this year’s Emmy Awards and with Colin and Michael in the driver’s seat as hosts, along with surprise appearances by other cast members of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I think we are in for one of the funniest awards shows in a long time,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a news release.
While the move is unusual, it is not particularly surprising. The sketch show, which debuted in 1975, finished its most-watched season in 23 years this past May. Season 43, which concludes on May 19, kicked off with one of the most-watched season premieres in a decade.
The renewed interest came as the show aimed its crosshairs at the Trump administration. To do this, SNL has relied heavily on guest appearances during the past two seasons for much of its political satire. Alec Baldwin famously portrays President Trump, and recently Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller dropped in for the cold open to portray Robert S. Mueller III and Michael Cohen.
Fans have responded by regularly flocking to their television each week. Even those who claim to hate the show — such as its biggest target, the president — appear to tune in regularly.
Since announcing his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, Trump has regularly discussed the show in interviews and through his tweets.
“Frankly, the way the show is going now, and you look at the kind of work they’re doing, who knows how long that show is going to be on?” Donald Trump, then president-elect, told Matt Lauer in December 2016. “It’s a terrible show.”
Yet, it seems as if he cannot turn away. After all, it is difficult to criticize something you have not seen. And, boy, does he enjoy criticizing the show.
You get the idea.
NBC has capitalized on the show’s newfound success in a few ways, such as by spinning a wacky Tom Hanks-featuring sketch into an animated special and the summer “Weekend Update” segments.
The Che-and-Jost-hosted Emmys, which will air on Monday, Sept. 17, is just the latest example.