‘Saturday Night Live’ Director Liz Patrick Says “Whenever Our Season Starts, We’re Looking Forward To Getting Moving” – Contenders TV: The Nominees

Saturday Night Live was one of many late-night shows interrupted by the writers and actors strikes, with the last three episodes of Season 48 scrapped altogether in May.

But for director Liz Patrick, who took over from Don Roy King midway through Season 47, she’s looking forward to getting back to Studio 8H.

“It was hard that we missed the last three episodes. But I also understand why and we want everyone to get what they deserve,” she said on a panel for Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees. “Whenever our season starts, we’re looking forward to getting back in there, getting our feet in the ground and getting moving.”

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Season 48 was a “year of transition” for the long-running NBC show, according to creator and exec producer Lorne Michaels. Stars such as Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon departed, along with Cecily Strong midway through.

However, that also gave more opportunities for newer cast members such as Ego Nwodim, Heidi Gardner and Bowen Yang to shine.

Patrick said there’s “more room for growth.”

“There’s more room to explore, maybe a certain cast member had taken over doing different characters and it opens up now in new areas,” she said. “They’ve all kind of come into their own. I know Heidi and Ego were established before, but I feel like they had great seasons, Chloe [Fineman] as well. It was a really nice year for all of them.”

Davidson, Jennifer Coolidge and Kieran Culkin were set to host those final three episodes, and Patrick said that she hopes they get another chance to appear.

Musical director Lenny Pickett, who has been with the show since 1985, said on today’s panel that Season 48 was great, but given he’s been doing it for 38 years, sometimes seasons merge together.

“It seems like a natural progression when you watch it this long. You can feel the ebb and flow of the individuals. They come in sort of nervous and hesitant and they get more confident in the cast,” he added.

Patrick added that SNL is a “high-speed train” and last season she felt like she had her feet underneath her a bit more. “I felt more comfortable coming in [last] season, having built relationships with the cast, the writers and the different departments,” she said.

SNL is now facing Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, as well as A Black Lady Sketch Show, in the newly titled Scripted Variety Series category at the Emmys.

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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