Now that Peacock is finally available to Roku users, the streaming service just made another major announcement. The entire Saturday Night Live archive will be coming to Peacock on Oct. 1, including complete episodes from all 45 past seasons. When Peacock launched, only episodes from the last five seasons were available, along with just a few "best of" compilations featuring popular sketches and cast members.
Saturday Night Live has had a difficult distribution history in the streaming era, notes Variety. The show's first five seasons and most seasons from 30 to 45 were available on Hulu, leaving out the show's 1980s and 1990s seasons. Netflix and Hulu did have the entire SNL archive in the early 2010s and Yahoo once had a streaming deal when it attempted to star its own platform. There was also a short-lived SNL app that included the SNL archive. When the library hits Peacock, it will be the first time the show's archive will be available to stream since NBCUniversal's short-lived comedy-focused streaming service Seeso folded in 2017.
There is still one big mystery. As Vulture pointed out in a recent article on SNL's streaming history, musical performances have been excluded from episodes in the past. Some short films, including SNL Digital Shorts produced by Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island team, were also missing when episodes were available to stream. It's not clear if Peacock will include these segments. At the moment, Peacock has an "SNL Vault" channel where old SNL episodes are streamed during the day.
The SNL news comes after NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast finally reached a deal to bring Peacock to Roku devices. This means the streaming platform will finally be available to the 37 million people with a Roku device. "Roku's incredible reach will not only help us ensure Peacock is available to our fans wherever they consume video but continue to expand NBCUniversal's unrivaled digital presence across platforms," NBCU said in a statement. The company said about 15 million people signed up once Peacock went live on Roku last week.
Meanwhile, SNL Season 46 is scheduled to start on Oct. 3 with Chris Rock hosting and Megan Three Stallion performing. It will be filmed at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Plaza with a small audience to follow New York's social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. Lorne Michaels plans to air five consecutive new SNL episodes in October, leading up to the November election. Jim Carrey joined the cast to play former Vice President Joe Biden in the new season.