'Weekend Update' Takes on Super Bowl

Variety - 1/13/03

NBC is tackling the Super Bowl again, pitting a 20-minute edition of "Saturday Night Live" against ABC's Shania Twain halftime spectacular on January 26.

The network saw modest success last year with a two-part, Playboy-themed edition of "Fear Factor" that aired during halftime and after the big game. This year, NBC brass have decided to focus solely on halftime.

At around 7 p.m. EST, NBC will begin airing a repeat 90-minute edition of "Fear Factor." When the Super Bowl hits halftime, NBC will interrupt "Fear" with a live broadcast of "SNL's" Jimmy Fallon/Tina Fey-anchored "Weekend Update," which will likely include several popular characters and bits from the sketch laffer.

The rest of "Fear" will air once "Update" ends.

NBC brass are still hammering out a deal with "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels and key talent to do the special, but a pact is expected. "We just hate the idea of rolling over on any night," NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said. "It's not in our DNA."

NBC isn't the first network to attack on Super Bowl Sunday. Fox pioneered such cheeky stunts in 1992, when it aired a special live edition of sketch comedy "In Living Color" during halftime of CBS' coverage of the game. The special stole a huge chunk of CBS' viewers.