Over the last three decades, "Saturday Night Live" has launched the careers of many of the brightest comedy performers of a generation; and, as The New York Times noted on the occasion of the show's Emmy-winning 25th Anniversary special in 1999: "In defiance of both time and show business convention, "SNL" is still the most pervasive influence on the art of comedy in contemporary culture." At the close of the century, "Saturday Night Live" placed seventh on Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 100 Entertainers of the past fifty years.
The program has won 21 Emmy Awards and been nominated for scores more. "SNL" has been honored twice, in 1990 and 2009, with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and cited as "truly a national institution." "Saturday Night Live" was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters, and the show continues to garner the highest ratings of any late-night television program, entertaining millions each week.
"SNL" sketches still bear repeating on Monday mornings. With live show surprises, especially those timed to the election - from Barack Obama's surprise walk-on, Hillary Clinton's performance opposite Amy Poehler, and Senator John McCain's "Weekend Update" appearance - "SNL" is making headlines and influencing the political dialogue while skewering it at the same time. Beyond politics, the show's cast of recurring characters and take on pop culture targets remains spot-on. The addition of the show's Emmy Award-winning SNL Digital Shorts continues to keep the show as current today as it was when it debuted.
The impressive lineup of "SNL" guest hosts last season featured some of the biggest stars of film, television, music and sports including: Michael Phelps, James Franco, Anne Hathaway, Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, Paul Rudd, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Martin, Bradley Cooper, Alec Baldwin, Zac Efron and Justin Timberlake.
The show continued its unparalleled tradition of featuring both blockbuster and breakout musical acts, hosting such performers as Kings of Leon, Duffy, The Killers, Adele, Coldplay, Beyonce, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Phoenix and Green Day
"Saturday Night Live," which premiered Oct. 11, 1975, is broadcast live from NBC's famed Studio 8H in New York City's Rockefeller Center. The program is a production of Broadway Video in association with SNL Studios. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.