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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

“Saturday Night Live” is bringing in Chris Pratt to host its 40th premiere episode Saturday at 11:30. Pratt is coming off a hugely successful summer after starring in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” so it’s no surprise “SNL” has tapped him as the first host. 

SNL

Singer Ariana Grande, who had an equally successful summer, will join Pratt to make her “SNL” debut as the season’s first musical guest. Here are some other ways “SNL” is making this season one for the books:

Cast shake-ups 

Noël Wells, Brooks Wheelan and John Milhiser were all let go earlier this summer while Nasim Pedrad chose to leave in order to focus on the upcoming FOX sitcom “Mulaney,” and Pete Davidson, the first case member born in the ‘90s, was added to the cast as a featured player. 

Former “SNL” writer Michael Che will be replacing Cecily Strong on the Weekend Update desk. Strong asked to step down from Update to focus on character work but will remain on the show. This made way for Che to join current anchor Colin Jost as not only the first male co-anchors, but also as the first African-American to ever sit behind the famous fake-news desk.

In addition, UF College of Journalism and Communications alumnae Darrel Hammond will replace Don Pardo, the long-time “SNL” announcer who passed away this summer.

Marketing 

To promote its 40th season, “SNL” has strengthened its partnership with Ben & Jerry’s. The brand introduced four new flavors in honor of famous “SNL” sketches. It’Sugar, a candy company, has also joined the fun by starting a line of “SNL”-inspired candies and products.

Special episode

NBC has also scheduled a live, three-hour anniversary special on Feb. 15 featuring former and current cast members to commemorate the accomplishment reaching 40 seasons. Reruns will be shown every week before the live show.

“SNL” is clearly aiming to make this a season to remember. I personally cannot wait to hear the famous tagline once again knowing this time it’s even more meaningful.

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