NBC is cutting the number of commercials during ‘Saturday Night Live’

Lorne Michaels

“Saturday Night Live” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels attends the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival opening night premiere of “Live From New York!” in New York.

(Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)

NBC is cutting the commercial clutter during “Saturday Night Live.”

Just two weeks before NBC starts selling ad time for the 2016-17 season, the network announced Monday that the legendary late-night sketch program will have two fewer national commercial breaks starting this season, its 42nd.

“As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown,” the show’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels said in a statement. “This will give time back to the show to make it easier to watch the show live.”

“Saturday Night Live” runs 93 minutes. About one-third of that is devoted to national and local commercials and promos for other network programs. As part of this change, viewers will see more program content with an addition of original sponsored content from advertisers that partner with the show.


NBC said with the commercial reductions viewers will see “branded content” from advertisers who partner with the show.

The show could use its writers and cast members to create sketches or vignettes that are sponsored, an NBC spokeswoman said. But the program will not use product placements within the show, she added.

“We are excited to try something new and unique that will shape and drive advertiser content too,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships, NBCUniversal. “By partnering together, advertisers can capture an audience that only ‘SNL’ can deliver.”

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