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James Hibberd

Lorne Michaels and Budget Cuts at ‘SNL’

July 23, 2006 7:47 PM

Longtime “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels surprised critics at the “30 Rock” press tour session Saturday when he let slip that due to “massive budget cuts” impacting all of NBC, the longtime late-night comedy sketch show was going to have to make do with much less in terms of its own budget. “That makes some decisions simpler or clearer,” he said, noting that as part of the transition on the show, head writer and cast member Tina Fey was leaving “SNL” after nine years to work full time on “30 Rock.” A replacement for Fey as head writer has not been named.

He noted that transition has always been a part of the show’s history, but the comment about budget cuts had critics rushing for a post-session tour with Michaels.

“SNL” has been on so long that Michaels has been through the budget cutting process “three or four times” in the past.

When asked what percentage of a cut the show is suffering, Michaels would only say “a budget significantly less than last year.”

“It is never pleasant,” he added, noting that “SNL” would have a smaller cast next season, but keep the same episode order.

“I made the decision to stick with the 20 shows, and cut everything back,” he said.


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