SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE to Add Black Female Cast Member Beginning Jan 2014
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has recently come under fire for its lack of diversity -- specifically its lack of black female performers. The show responded to the outcry in its opening skit with guest host Kerry Washington last month. The not-so-serious scene featured the actress playing Michelle Obama, Oprah and Beyonce in one setting. But now SNL is getting serious.
The New York Times reports that SNL held an audition on Monday, December 9, for potential black female cast members. Seven or eight candidates were in attendance in New York that day. SNL also held an audition in Los Angeles on December 1, where SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels vetted around a dozen performers.
"All told we've seen about 25 people," Michaels said. "A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we'll come out of the process well."
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Whoever the show selects will begin performing in January and will be the first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left in 2007.
About SNL: "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. 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.
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