Tonight's SNL Drops Audience

Omicron is behind decision to scale back show
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2021 4:30 PM CST
SNL Scales Back Tonight's Show
Bowen Yang, left, appears as the iceberg that sank the Titanic with Colin Jost during an April episode of "Saturday Night Live."   (Will Heath/NBC via AP)

Hours before showtime, Saturday Night Live announced that its final show of the year will have no audience in its New York studio and a reduced cast and crew. A statement posted on social media attributed the decision to the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant, per the Hollywood Reporter. "The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol," the statement said. The host Saturday night is scheduled to be actor Paul Rudd and the musical guest Charli XCX.

On Friday, New York State posted its highest one-day total of new infections since the pandemic began last year, per Deadline. Broadway performances have been canceled this week after cast or crew members tested positive, per CNN. The cancelations include the Radio City Rockettes' "Christmas Spectacular" performances. Early in the pandemic, SNL skits originated in cast members' homes, but the show has had a studio audience this fall until now. (More omicron variant stories.)

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