DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
September 27, 2014  | By David Bianculli

NBC, 11:30 p.m. ET

 

SEASON PREMIERE: This is the first installment from Season 40 of Saturday Night Live – and I always feel a special kinship to this show, because a review of the premiere of the inaugural season, back in 1975, is how I talked my way into being an actual, for-a-real-newspaper television critic. It’s sobering to think that, as SNL begins year 40 in television, that I do, too. But here we both are, for now. For this new season, former SNL chameleonic cast member Darrell Hammond replaces the late Don Pardo, who served as announcer for the very first show, and for almost all the episodes afterward (when Pardo couldn’t perform his duties due to illness, it turns out, Hammond secretly replaced Pardo by mimicking his distinctive voice.) For tonight’s show, Hammond will use his own voice. Other things I know about the new show: Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy and Parks and Recreation is the guest host for this Season 40 opener. The musical guest is Ariana Grande. Cicely Strong is stepping down from “Weekend Update” and returning to the repertory cast full-time. Colin Jost has a new “Weekend Update” co-anchor in Michael Che, returning to SNL after a Daily Show stint. And five faces from last year are off the show: three (John Milhiser, Noel Wells, Brooks Wheelan) are gone, one (Michael O’Brien) is returning to the writers’ room, and one (Nasim Pedrad) is starring opposite former SNL writer John Mulaney on the upcoming Fox sitcom Mulaney.

 
 
 
 
 
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