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'Saturday Night' Not So Live and Well, Critics Say

October 22, 1994|JANE HALL

While Conan O'Brien has been picking up some support from TV critics this season, another NBC late-night series has been drawing Bronx cheers in its 20th season.

Over a critical review of the show, Newsweek put this headline: "Dear 'Saturday Night Live': It's Over. Please Die." And this week's Entertainment Weekly says, "Sitting at home and crying might not be your idea of a fun Saturday night, but it can't get any sadder than the new season of 'SNL.' "

The barbs notwithstanding, no changes are planned, according to NBC late-night chief Rick Ludwin and Lorne Michaels, executive producer of both "Saturday Night Live" and O'Brien's "Late Night."

"Obviously, it hurts to read reviews like that," Michaels said. "But as in some seasons in the past, I think this is a transition year for us. I believe the new performers and writers we've added will work out well over the season. Last week's show--with John Travolta as host--was a good one."

Some sources said NBC executives had been feeling earlier this year that Michaels, who also produces theatrical films, was not paying enough attention to "SNL," and they met with him last spring to voice their concerns. But, said Michaels, "there is no one more interested in the future of this show than I am."

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