Saturday Night Live, NBC's Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase, enters its 40th season for another year of laughs, surprises and great performances.
This season's cast includes Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, writer-turned-performer Mike O'Brien, Sasheer Zamata and new Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost, who also serves as the show's head writer since Seth Meyers' departure.
Since its inception in 1975, SNL has launched the careers of many of the brightest comedy performers of their generation. As The New York Times noted on the occasion of the show's Emmy-winning 25th Anniversary special in 1999, in defiance of both time and show business convention, SNL is still the most pervasive influence on the art of comedy in contemporary culture.
At the close of the century, Saturday Night Live placed seventh on Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 100 Entertainers of the past fifty years.
The program has won 40 Emmy Awards and now holds the title for the most nominated television show in Emmy history with 156 nominations. SNL has been honored twice, in 1990 and 2009, with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and cited as truly a national institution.
Saturday Night Live was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters, and the show continues to garner the highest ratings of any late-night television program, entertaining millions each week.
With live show surprises, especially those timed to the election - from Barack Obama's surprise walk-on, Hillary Clinton's performance opposite Amy Poehler and Senator John McCain's Weekend Update appearance - SNL is making headlines and influencing the political dialogue while skewering it at the same time.
Beyond politics, the show's cast of recurring characters and its take on pop culture targets remain spot-on. The addition of the show's Emmy Award-winning SNL Digital Shorts continues to keep the show as current today as it was when it debuted.
Saturday Night Live, which premiered October 11, 1975, is broadcast live from NBC's famed Studio 8H in New York City's Rockefeller Center. The program is a production of Broadway Video in association with SNL Studios. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.