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Sasheer Zamata Named Newest Cast Member of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Sasheer Zamata Named Newest Cast Member of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Sasheer Zamata has been named SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE's newest cast member.

A recent grad of the University of Virginia and Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre trainee, Zamata will make her SNL debut on the Jan. 18 episode, with Drake set to host and perform, according to Deadline.

Zamata's hire comes just a few months after the long-running late-night sketch comedy show came under fire for its lack of diversity among its female players. As previously reported, producer Lorne Michaels and SNL execs launched a nationwide search for a new female cast member. Zamata is the first " black female Saturday Night Live cast member in five years since the departure of Maya Rudolph," per the report.

"Saturday Night Live," NBC's Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase, enters its 39th season in September for another year of laughs, surprises and great performances.

Since its inception in 1975, "SNL" has launched the careers of many of the brightest comedy performers of their generation; and, 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, the most for any show in television history. SNL also holds the title for the most nominated television show in Emmy HISTORY with 171 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.

"SNL" sketches still bear repeating on Monday mornings. 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 take on pop culture targets remains 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 Oct. 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.


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