NBC Returns to Airing Older Episodes in ‘SNL Vintage’ Slot

It was less than a week ago that Variety’s Brian Steinberg pointed out that NBC had stopped airing older episodes of Saturday Night Live in its Saturday at 10pm “SNL Vintage” time slot.

Instead, as Steinberg reported, the network has been favoring more recent episodes from this season or last. 

As if on cue, NBC announced this week’s SNL Vintage: the March 9, 2019 episode with host Idris Elba and musical guest Khalid.

Whether or not 2019 can actually be considered “vintage” is open to interpretation, but it’s certainly more so than this past week’s episode, a rerun of the Sydney Sweeney-hosted SNL from the week before.

Launched in September 2014 ahead of Saturday Night Live’s 40th season, SNL Vintage has presented episodes going all the way back to the show’s inception in 1975. Episodes have, at times, been chosen to coincide with the time of year, or to honor a recently deceased host.

Since the start of the current season however, the show’s custom has been to air the previous week’s episode on live show weeks, and episodes from last season onthe show’s dark weeks–the one exception being holiday themed clip shows that aired over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A quick survey of the time slot’s ratings doesn’t reveal a dramatic difference between older reruns selected to air last winter before the Writers Strike and those running now, but as Steinberg pointed out in his article for Variety, the more recent episodes have the benefit of  serving as a showcase for the show’s current cast. (And not for nothing, current staffers also receive residuals when newer episodes are re-aired.)

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