We may not hear “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” this Fall.
Dueling Hollywood strikes shut down most productions, including late-night TV and “Saturday Night Live.” That means the latter’s 49th season may be delayed indefinitely.
The strikes show little sign of ending, and the acrimony flowing from both camps is palpable.
Yet news recently broke that “SNL” founder Lorne Michaels, 78, may be stepping aside. His potential replacement starred on the NBC series for nine years and has a formidable comic legacy beyond her “SNL” reign.
That’s Tina Fey, Mark Twain Prize recipient and winner of nine Emmy awards.
A source told The Post that Tina Fey is being courted to take over as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” when creator and current executive producer Lorne Michaels departs.
It’s hardly a done deal, and another source dismissed the report. She’s still one of the most likely names to take over if and when Michaels leaves the gig. He once said he’d stick around through the show’s 50th season, which begins next fall.
Fey has the experience and comic chops to earn the gig, but she’s also as relentlessly liberal as your average “SNL” sketch. Her biggest “SNL” moment came when she repeatedly played Gov. Sarah Palin, mocking the Alaskan’s mental acuity in the process.
On the surface, that doesn’t make her a questionable choice to revive a show drowning in progressive groupthink. It’s a disastrous one.
Fey starred and co-created “30 Rock,” the NBC sitcom that brought surprising balance to the culture wars. Yes, the film’s corporate villain Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) was a conservative, but the material around him regularly mocked liberal tropes.
The show also showed Donaghy’s softer side, bringing balance to the portrait.
“30 Rock’s” politics were never center stage, but Fey tweaked both sides if it could generate a laugh. That’s the spirit “SNL” sorely needs after a decade-plus of genuflecting towards the DNC.
Laughs come first. Always. Partisanship must take a back seat. Michaels no longer abides by that golden rule.
Fey bemoaned the divisive nature of our political culture in 2019, suggesting her leadership might bring a less angry edge to its satire.
“The culture is so ugly and the political climate is so ugly,” she said. “We would always have everybody on because you could. You’d have Bush Sr. come do a thing with Dana Carvey before I worked there. It’s so truly ugly now.”
She also shared her take on the infamous Palin impression, saying she wanted to be “fair” to the divisive figure.
“I’m not just gonna go with the flow of like, ‘Okay, you love her. You hate her.’ Let me think with my own mind of what do I think about her.”
“SNL” could use a right-leaning show runner, of course, but there might be a mutiny if NBC hired a conservative to replace Michaels.
Which Fey would take over “SNL” should the move become official? Will she fight for “problematic” jokes knowing laughs matter more than outrage? Or keep the show neutered for the foreseeable future?
The bigger question?
Does Fey care about the show’s legacy enough to bring ideological balance back to the once-beloved show?