New Show, The

Lorne Michaels left his role as Executive Producer of Saturday Night Live in 1980. In 1984, NBC was in such ratings trouble in prime time that they made him one of those offers he couldn’t refuse. Reportedly, they dangled a staggering sum of cash and total freedom to do whatever he wanted with an hour on Friday nights. The problem, as many would later comment, was that Lorne Michaels didn’t have an idea for a new show, nor the time to conceive one. The New Show debuted on January 6, 1984 and was instantly labelled “Saturday Night Lite” by most critics. It was a largely unstructured hour of sketches and musical acts that was at its best when it most closely resembled the series that had made Michaels famous, offering much the same look and feel, although the show was not broadcast live. It also featured many of the same cast members and guest stars, along with several refugees from SCTV. The last episode aired on March 23. Many people have fond memories of certain sketches, especially several that featured Steve Martin, but Michaels has so far refused to release the series on DVD.