'Saturday Night Live' to Return to Studio 8H for Season 46

Saturday Night Live will begin its 46th season later than usual, but the next new episodes will still air live from Studio 8H in Rockefeller Plaza. The new season will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The network did not announce who the guests will be or how the cast and crew will follow social distancing guidelines.

The Season 46 premiere will be the first new live episode from New York since March 7, when Daniel Craig was promoting the James Bond film No Time to Die, which had already been postponed due to the pandemic. After that week, the show returned on April 11 with the first of three Saturday Night Live at Home episode. The April 11 show featured Tom Hanks and Chris Martin. The April 25 episode began with Brad Pitt playing Dr. Anthony Fauci and Miley Cyrus performing, although Pitt was not credited as host. The May 9 episode acted as the season finale, with Kristen Wiig as host and Boyz II Men and Babyface performing "A Song for Mama."

Back in July, Variety reported that SNL was planning to go live from New York for its 46th season and was working out how to do so. One source said Lorne Michaels and his team were looking to create a "controlled" environment, meaning a live audience will likely be out of the question. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon could be used as an example, as Fallon and The Roots have been filming from NBC's Studio 6A with the production team wearing facemasks. Guests have continued to appear via videoconferencing, though.

It is also not clear how many of the main cast members from Season 45 will return. Earlier this month, featured player Ego Nrodim was promoted to repertory player, Deadline reports. However, Kate McKinnon has been working with Hulu on a drama series about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured SNL cast member in the show's history, is also working on a new NBC sitcom that will debut later this year.

NBC announced its fall 2020 schedule late last month, with most of its drama series scheduled for the week of Nov. 9. This Is Us is coming back on Nov. 10, with the Chicago shows returning the following day. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will be back on Nov. 12 and The Blacklist will return on Nov. 13. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Good Girls, Making It, Manifest, New Amsterdam, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, and several other new shows will be held back until next year.