“As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown,” said Lorne Michaels, SNL creator and executive producer. “This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live.”
While its skits regularly go viral, SNL‘s linear ratings have declined over the past few years.
It is unclear whether NBC will charge a premium for the remaining commercials. But the network noted that in addition to more program content, the change will bring in more original sponsored content from advertisers who will partner with the show for branded sketches, something the show is known for.
“Since 1975, SNL has shaped and driven conversation. We are excited to try something new and unique that will shape and drive advertiser content too,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “By partnering together, advertisers can capture an audience that only SNL can deliver.”
The change also will likely bring more pre-taped segments, which more often go viral, as the SNL commercial breaks are used to re-starge the set for the next skit. It also will possibly mean that the live sketches will be longer.
Over the past year, Viacom and Turner have committed to reducing the commercial load on their networks. At Turner, TruTV and TNT are looking to cut the ad inventory by 50%.