British version of Saturday Night Live in the works at Sky
James R | On 11, Dec 2021
A British version of Saturday Night Live is reportedly in the works at Sky.
The Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase, which was created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol, has been a mainstay of the US comedy scene since its debut in 1975. Now in its 47th season, the variety show has helped launch the careers of countless comedy talent, from Eddie Murphy, Seth Myers and Will Ferrell to Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Amy Poehler.
It briefly aired in the UK on ITV4 in 2006 but has since only been available on YouTube in the form of standalone clips – that is, until 2020, when Sky Comedy launched, bringing with it the full, syndicated version of the programme, airing on the channel on Sunday nights, following its Saturday weekly premiere Stateside.
Now, Sky – which is owned, like NBC, by Comcast – is looking to build on the show with its own British incarnation. The interpretation of the format would follow other international versions in Germany, South Korea, Italy and more, and would see local talent take to the stage.
Deadline reports that the project is in the “early stages of development”. but comedians are thought to be lining up to be involved already. (Incidentally, it’s worth noting that Nish Kumar recently departed Late Night Mash, Dave’s resurrected version of BBC’s The Mash Report.)
Back in 1985, a live Saturday comedy showcase, called Saturday Live, attempted to echo SNL’s success, featuring Harry Enfield, Stephen Fry, Ben Elton, Hugh Laurie and more. In 2011, another attempt at a late night programme was assembled by Channel 4, with Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr, Lauren Laverne and David Mitchell presenting 10 O’Clock Live. It ran for three seasons.