All 45 seasons of Saturday Night Live will be available online via NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock starting next week. Currently, only a limited number of recent seasons are available in their entirety. NBC has also added "Best Of" compilations and an "SNL Vault" channel to Peacock, but the SNL library is ready to expand.
SNL has been available on other platforms and streaming services in the past, however never the complete series. Netflix, Hulu, and Yahoo have all been home to SNL in some form or another. Seasons were typically compacted and episodes were also heavily edited. Peacock was advertised as the exclusive online home for streaming SNL but had yet to open the entire collection after launching this summer.
Now NBC is delivering on its promise of making every SNL season available on Peacock. Variety reports that beginning October 1, the past 45 seasons will begin streaming. Subscribers can watch every episode from the 1975 premiere hosted by George Carlin through this year's season 45 finale hosted by Kristen Wiig. At the conclusion of each new season, the episodes will be added to Peacock.
It is unknown if episodes will include musical performances. Copyright issues have prevented their inclusion in previous streaming deals. Certain "Digital Shorts" from The Lonely Island have also been missing from Peacock, suggesting they may not all be included in the library either.
The launch of SNL's 45-season library on Peacock will come just days before Chris Rock hosts the season 46 premiere on October 3. Fans likely would have enjoyed having access to past SNL seasons while quarantined during the summer between seasons, but NBCUniversal has made it worth the wait. Never before has every SNL episode been in one place, forcing viewers to jump from platform to platform, scroll through YouTube searches, or just give up when it came to finding vintage sketches. Now 45 years of television and comedy history will be just a click away for Peacock subscribers.
Watching SNL from its inception can provide insight into the evolution of live television, pop culture, American satire, and political humor. Some sketches, episodes, and seasons will be dated, cringe-inducing, or outright offensive by 2020's standards but are nevertheless part of SNL's history and development into a cultural institution. Along the way, a new generation can be introduced to SNL legends like John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Eddie Murphy.