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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1592 "Miley Cyrus" -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Sudeikis, Seth Meyers -- Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC
TV shocker — KSL will start airing "Saturday Night Live" in the fall

Eighteen years after it became an NBC affiliate, KSL-Channel 5 will begin airing original episodes of "Saturday Night Live" this fall. On Saturday nights. At 10:35 p.m.

Pretty astonishing. Even to the folks at NBC, who weren't expecting the call they got from the folks at KSL.

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Not all the details have been announced, but the station has reportedly agreed that it won't pre-empt any of the late-night episodes or the prime-time specials.


KSL has a long history of yanking network programming off its schedule, both when it was a CBS affiliate and since it switched to NBC. In the past two seasons, Channel 5 has refused to air "The Playboy Club," "The New Normal" and "Hannibal."

There has been considerable misunderstanding about the "Saturday Night Live" pre-emption, however. When KSL became an NBC affiliate in 1995, the station didn't want to lose its very successful late-night local sports shows. It offered to air "SNL" on Saturdays at 11:35 p.m. - an offer NBC rejected.

The network instead moved "SNL" to Channel 30.

"It was a business decision," Tami Ostmark, KSL's vice president of marketing, research and promotion, said a few weeks ago. "That's still the case today."

The business has changed, however. "SportsBeat Saturday" is a shadow of its former self, regularly getting beaten up in the ratings by KUTV-Channel 2's "Talkin' Sports."

The move came as a surprise to Channel 30, which will continue to air NBC's "Hannibal" when that show returns at midseason.

"They are the NBC affiliate. but I'll still take the other stuff they won't air," said KTVX/KUCW vice president and general manager Richard Doutre Jones.

Not surprisingly, the "Saturday Night Live" announcement elicited a wide variety of responses on KSL's Facebook page.

"Really? KSL is all grown up? I wonder how long it will last. Sorry to be cynical but KSL's past actions have made me that way."

"WOW...welcome to the 21st century KSL...."

"Why are you lowering your standards?"

"To anyone one who objects to this because they think Saturday Night Live is offensive.....go to bed then you won't be offended!"

You're never going to make everyone happy.

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