Jane Curtin replaced Chase a few shows into Season 2 when he left in 1976 and remained as anchor until 1980. Curtin finished Season 2 solo, but was paired with co-anchors Dan Aykroyd (1977–1978) and Bill Murray (1978–1980). A frequent feature of Update during this time was Point-Counterpoint, in which Curtin and Aykroyd made vicious and humorously inappropriate ad hominem attacks on each other's positions on a variety of topics, in a parody of the 60 Minutes segment of the same name which pitted conservative James J. Kilpatrick and liberal Shana Alexander during the 1970s. Another possible impetus for this recurring bit were the nightly op-ed debates on New York station WNEW-TV's The 10 O'Clock News between conservative Dr. Martin Abend and liberal Professor Sidney Offit which also aired during this period. Aykroyd regularly began his reply with "Jane, you ignorant slut," which became another of the many SNL catch phrases (Curtin frequently began her reply with, "Dan, you pompous ass"). Other popular running features were John Belushi giving editorials which become increasingly hysterical until he is raving at the end (even though that feature started on Chase's tenure late in season 1); Gilda Radner's characters Emily Litella launching a tirade on a subject she misheard, and again as Roseanne Roseannadanna, giving obnoxiously irrelevant editorials. (see also Saturday Night Live characters appearing on Weekend Update). During Curtin's tenure as host, she opened each Weekend Update segment with Grimsby's "Here now the news" sign-on, and closed with Chase's "That's the news, goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow."
Much like the rest of SNL, the segment floundered somewhat after the departure of the original cast and producer Lorne Michaels in 1980. Charles Rocket (later teamed with Gail Matthius) anchored during the ill-fated one-season tenure of new executive producer Jean Doumanian. Although he had experience as a real anchorman, Rocket came across on-air as boorish, stiff and cocky. His closing line after each Update was the clever "I'm Charles Rocket. Good night and watch out". After Rocket was fired from the show in 1981, he appeared one final time for the March 7, 1981 broadcast. Weekend Update received a name and set change for this single episode (hosted by Bill Murray) in which it became SNL NewsLine. For this final episode of the Charles Rocket era, it was hosted by Rocket alone, without Matthius. The following April, Chevy Chase hosted the show, and anchored WU on April 11, 1981, the final show of the sixth season (he had done the same during his two previous times hosting, in 1978 and 1980).
Dick Ebersol, executive producer of SNL from 1981 to 1985, did not make the renamed SNL Newsbreak segment a high priority. The anchor position changed hands frequently, especially during the 1981 season which saw anchor Brian Doyle-Murray teamed first with Mary Gross, then going solo for three months, then back with Mary Gross for one more month before finally being teamed with Christine Ebersole for the remainder of the season. However, both Doyle-Murray and Ebersole were gone by the next year.
Miller left in 1991.
Unlike Nealon, who usually played the role as a straight-faced anchor, Macdonald chose to emphasize the artifice of "Weekend Update," introducing each segment with "I'm Norm Macdonald, and here's the fake news", and frequently breaking character by chuckling at his own jokes, stumbling over his lines, and making self-referential comments regarding his comic delivery. He relied heavily on running gags (such as repeated references to Frank Stallone, David Hasselhoff, and Demi Moore's breasts), stereotypes, and general outrageousness, including audacious attacks on public figures such as O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. His smirking, deadpan delivery inspired devoted fans as well as ardent opponents.
Much like the 1980 season many years earlier, Weekend Update during Macdonald's first year at the desk was considered a high point in a season when ratings, substance, and laughter were lacking. At one point, Chevy Chase himself deemed Macdonald the only anchor (other than Chase himself) to have "done it right." However, by 1997, it appeared to some that his style had grown stale. On certain nights he would preside over entire Update sketches receiving nothing more than a few minor chuckles from the studio audience. His stint as Weekend Update anchor ended in controversy in December 1997, when he was fired upon the insistence of NBC West Coast Executive Don Ohlmeyer, who, ironically, had earlier pushed Lorne to put Macdonald behind the Update desk in 1994. Ohlmeyer, a friend of Simpson's, was reportedly upset by Macdonald's frequent jokes at the expense of the former football player.
Occasionally, Quinn would open the segment standing in front of the desk with a quick topical joke, and he would assume the normal anchor position while the "Weekend Update" open aired.
During his time behind the Update desk, Quinn presided over much of the highly publicized Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal, the Microsoft Anti-Trust Trial, and the Elián González controversy. His sign-off was "I'm Colin Quinn, that's my story and I'm sticking to it." Quinn left the show in 2000.
Recurring features of the Fallon/Fey updates included the "Update Door", a door on the left of the set where celebrities, as impersonated by SNL cast members, would walk through to do a commentary, a segment called "Terrible ReEnactments" in which Chris Kattan would do an intentionally bad re-enactment of a news story that had occurred during the week (usually the story involved a celebrity being injured) and regular appearances from Jeff Richards's Drunk Girl character.
After a popular four-year run, Fallon left to pursue a film career in 2004, and was replaced by fellow cast member Amy Poehler as co-anchor, giving the sketch its first two-woman anchor team and "double the sexual tension." The all-female pairing won praise from many critics, but some critics said they felt the segment was beginning to take after The Daily Show, relying heavily on political humor and video footage, especially during the 2004–2005 season.
The 2005 season began with Poehler returning to her seat behind the desk. However, Fey temporarily left the show after giving birth to her first child and was replaced briefly by Horatio Sanz as co-anchor. Fey returned to the show in October for the season's third live episode, jokingly explaining that "NBC and I have a contract; the baby and I only have a verbal agreement." The 2005–2006 season finale's Weekend Update ended with an apparent sendoff for Fey, who went on to write and star in a prime time sitcom, 30 Rock, which premiered on NBC in October 2006. Fey officially announced her departure from SNL in July 2006.
After the departure of Fey, Amy Poehler continued as co-anchor along with new co-anchor Seth Meyers for the 2006–2007 season. The duo began a string of running gags, including a story revolving around a new study about tree frogs, which can never be revealed, due to a set of unusual interruptions, including drunk dialing by Amy or a random celebrity played by an SNL cast member showing up out of nowhere. Another new gag introduced during the 2006–2007 season, entitled "Really!?! with Seth and Amy," involved Seth and Amy lambasting celebrities (for example Alberto Gonzales, Larry Craig, Eliot Spitzer, or Michael Vick) for lack of common sense. It is uncertain which cast member, if any, will replace Poehler once she leaves SNL after giving birth to her child.
During the 2007–2008 season, two previous hosts returned to the Update desk for one off appearances; Chevy Chase, as "Senior Political Correspondent", and Tina Fey, as "Special Women's News Correspondent." Women's news was a running segment during the Fey-Poehler era.
Season 1 (1975–76):
Season 2 (1976–77):
Season 3 (1977–78):
Seasons 4 and 5 (1978–80):
Season 6 (1980–81):
Season 7 (1981–82):
Season 8 (1982–83):
Season 9 (1983–84): (Cast member unless otherwise noted)
Season 10 (1984–85): (Cast member unless otherwise noted)
Seasons 11–16 (1985–1991):
Seasons 17–19 (1991–1994):
Seasons 20–22 (1994-1997):
Season 23 (1997–1998):
Seasons 24 & 25 (1998–2000):
Seasons 26–29 (2000-2004):
Season 30 (2004–05):
Season 31 (2005–06)
Season 32 (2006–2007)
Season 33 (2007–2008)
|Name||Appearances as WU anchor||Total number of appearances|
|As anchor||As co-anchor|
|Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas||3||-||3|
Weekend Update anchor says 'Saturday Night Live' is as good as ever. (Originated from Knight-Ridder Newspapers)
Feb 20, 1995; It's hard to know what the people at ``Saturday Night Live'' were thinking when they gave Norm MacDonald the anchor chair on the...