Just before the start of Saturday night’s episode of “Saturday Night Live,” local NBC affiliate WRAL aired a special message promising to no longer silence language on the program.
During last week’s show, hosted by Dave Chappelle, the station attempted to mute two objectionable words used by the comedian, but drew criticism from viewers because their 8-second delay impeded the flow of the program. WRAL is the only market in the country known to have muted portions of the broadcast.
In tonight’s message, which took a lighthearted tone, a young man in a control room pretended to be the station’s general manager and reminded viewers about last week’s episode and the muted portions. He then shows “the culprit” – a fake red button marked “delay.”
Then he says: “Look, you’re a grown-up watching a late night comedy show. So starting right now, during every episode of ‘SNL,’ we are walking away from the dreaded silencer button. And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night! And Raleigh is keepin’ all the words in!”
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A separate statement from WRAL elaborated on the station’s decision to revise their language policy for “Saturday Night Live”:
WRAL-TV received diverse opinions regarding our treatment of the November 12 episode of “Saturday Night Live.” After careful consideration, we are revising our policy. “Saturday Night Live” has a 40-year history of cutting-edge, late-night comedy. Most viewers have unique expectations when they watch SNL – expectations that clearly differ from those of any other program on WRAL-TV. As a result, we have revised our policy and procedures specifically for the weekly airings of SNL. Effective November 19, all words allowed by NBC will be heard during SNL as it airs on WRAL-TV.
This weekend’s episode is hosted by former “SNL” castmember Kristin Wiig and featured not only the return of Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, but several former castmembers like Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, and special guests like Steve Martin.
You can read our original story about the Chappelle episode and also our follow-up interview with the real WRAL general manager Steve Hammel from later in the week.