NBC Wants to Line Up Advertisers for 50th Season of ‘SNL’

The 50th season of “Saturday Night Live” isn’t slated to kick off until the fall of 2024. But that doesn’t mean NBC has to wait until then to start lining up sponsors.

NBCUniversal intends to start talking to advertisers about the possibilities in the industry’s annual “upfront” sales session, says Mark Marshall, the company’s president of advertising sales and partnerships, in a recent interview. NBC could start calling attention to the landmark season during its telecasts of the 2024 Summer Olympics from Paris, he says, which means the media company is eager to start discussing ideas soon.

More from Variety

TV’s “upfront,” when U.S. networks try to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory, is expected to kick into gear next week, when NBCU and its competitors hold a series of glitzy presentations for Madison Avenue. “Saturday Night Live” generated approximately $74,7 million dollars in ad sales in 2022, according to Vivvix, a tracker of ad spending. That figure represents a 12% dip from the nearly $85.3 million “SNL” generated in 2021.

NBC has some obvious candidates with whom to discuss ideas. Apple has been the biggest spender on ads in “SNL” for the past few seasons, according to Vivvix. The iPhone titan, which typically hawks its Apple Music service right after the first appearance by the musical guest in each “SNL” episode, spent $4.13 million on ads in the show in 2022, according to Vivvix, compared with nearly $5.27 million in 2021 and $7.61 million in 2020.

Other top “SNL” sponsors include drug-maker Abbvie, which spent $2.52 million on “SNL” advertising in 2022, and telecom giant T-Mobile, which spent $2.72 million on commercials in the show that same year.

Some late-night observers are watching the onset of the 50th season to see if it augurs any change in the production of the show. Lorne Michaels, who founded “SNL” and guided it through nearly all its tenure on air, is nearing 80. That, combined with some of his own recent remarks, have fueled speculation that the program could, at some not-too-distant point, have other people guiding it from behind the scenes.

“I think I’m committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years,” Michaels told CBS News in 2021. “I’d like to see that through, and I have a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave. But here’s the point: I won’t want the show ever to be bad. I care too deeply about it. It’s been my life’s work. So, I’m gonna do everything I can to see it carry on and carry on well.” Months later, the producer appeared to change his mind. “I have no plans to retire,” he told The New York Times in 2022.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.