Live, take 43: Live from New York, 'SNL' is back

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Andrew Warren / TV Media
Kate McKinnon stars in "Saturday Night Life"

Kate McKinnon stars in "Saturday Night Life"

Live, take 43: There aren't a lot of shows out there that can claim to have 42 seasons at their backs, but as "Saturday Night Live" heads into its 43rd season, it shows no signs of slowing down. Far from it, in fact. The venerable variety and sketch comedy heads into its new season with momentum, coming off its strongest season, ratings-wise, in decades.

The new season premieres, surprise, surprise, Saturday night. The Sept. 30 premiere on NBC -- the same network the show has called home since its inception -- brings with it fewer faces than last season (some of the cast members took their leave after last season's phenomenal run), but also plenty of familiar ones.

Hosting the premiere is A-lister Ryan Gosling, who hosted once before in 2015. The "La La Land" (2016) star is joined on stage by the week's musical guest, rapper Jay-Z.

Kenan Thompson ("Kenan & Kel") also returns for his 15th season, a milestone that makes him the longest-tenured cast member ever. Kate McKinnon ("Ghostbusters," 2016), Michael Che ("Detroiters") and Colin Jost ("How to Be Single," 2016) are also back.

Sadly, there are a few cast members whose comedic abilities will be missed this year. Vanessa Bayer ("Trainwreck," 2015), Sasheer Zamata ("Sleight," 2016) and Bobby Moynihan ("The Book of Henry," 2017) all took their final bows last season.

Of course, one of the reasons that last season was so popular was frequent guest star Alec Baldwin's ("30 Rock") impression of President Trump. "SNL" has always riffed on whoever is in power, but his impressions resonated with audiences like few have, and Baldwin has confirmed that we can expect more of his presidential impersonations this year.

Lots of laughs are in store when "Saturday Night Live's" 43rd season premieres Saturday, Sept. 30, on NBC.


Even better 'News': "Great News" already had a pretty great first season, but with one of the funniest women in television stepping on screen for its second, there's a good chance that the "news" season will be even better.

The second season of the comedy premieres Thursday, Sept. 28, on NBC, and features the returning one-two punch of stars Briga Heelan ("Ground Floor") as TV news producer Katie Wendelson, and Andrea Martin ("SCTV") as her intern, Carol. Of course, like in any good comedy, there's a huge twist at play: Carol isn't only Katie's intern, she's also her mother.

As for that new face, it belongs to none other than Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), who also serves as executive producer of the series. It isn't the first time that the legendary comedic actress has appeared in a show that she works on behind the cameras; she's also guest-starred in Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt," a series she both co-created and executive produces.

"Great News" follows the antics of a television news team as they work to bring the day's events into people's homes -- and deal with their own personal relationships along the way. Along with the mother/daughter team, the cast includes Nicole Richie ("The Simple Life"), Adam Campbell ("The Five-Year Engagement," 2012), Horatio Sanz ("Are We There Yet?") and John Michael Higgins ("Bob's Burgers").

The laughs are back on the air when "Great News" returns Thursday, Sept. 28, on NBC.


No more waiting: The wait is over: Kevin James is back with a new season of his post-"King of Queens" sitcom, but the sophomore season of "Kevin Can Wait," premiering Monday, Sept. 25, on CBS, is looking decidedly different than the first.

The new season picks up nearly a year after the first, and some big changes have taken place in Kevin's (James) life. The retired police officer and father, who spent much of the first season dealing with his college-aged daughter moving back home and with his own struggles with retired life, is now a grieving widower, as his wife, Donna (Erinn Hayes, "Childrens Hospital"), passed away off screen.

Interestingly enough, Leah Remini, who guest-starred in several episodes last season, has been promoted to a series regular. She starred alongside James as his wife Carrie in "The King of Queens," and the chemistry between the two was a big source of that show's success over its nine seasons. 

In "Kevin Can Wait," Remini returns to her first-season role of Vanessa, a detective and former rival of Kevin's who is now running a private security firm -- and who just might be a new romantic interest. All of the other major cast members also return, including Taylor Spreitler ("Amityville: The Awakening," 2017), Ryan Cartwright ("Alphas") and Gary Valentine ("The King of Queens").

The laughs are tinged with sadness for "Kevin Can Wait's" second season, premiering Monday, Sept. 25, on CBS.