Saturday Night Live is heading to the Middle Kingdom. NBCUniversal has announced a partnership with Youku, a unit of Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group, who will produce a localized version of the hit show in China.
Over the last few years, ten international versions of Saturday Night Live have been licensed across the world, most recently including France, the Middle East and Finland – with China the latest addition. SNL will be Youku’s new flagship entertainment show for 2017’s fall/winter schedule, showcasing the best of Chinese culture and comedy.
Debuting in 1975, Saturday Night Live is now in its 43rd season in the U.S., with each show attracting an average of 11 million viewers. The long-running satirical sketch show is seeing its highest numbers in over 20 years, with a significant boost following the inauguration of Donald Trump. U.S. viewership is up 29% over last year, resulting in the show’s best season since 1993-94.
“Lorne Michaels has created a timeless format that taps into the prevailing cultural zeitgeist and instantaneously responds with whip-smart humor to national affairs and social trends,” said Michael Edelstein, President, NBCUniversal International Studios. “In the US, Saturday Night Live is a perennial #1 late night show that consistently outperforms primetime and we’ve seen similar debuts in other countries such as France where SNL has instantly become a top-rated show. We’re excited to partner with Youku in China where we are confident SNL will be a big hit with audiences.”
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