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Old 12-21-2019, 02:13 AM   #1
TMC
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Default How Eddie Murphy saved SNL from cancellation

https://www.thewrap.com/how-eddie-mu...-in-the-1980s/

If it wasn't for Murphy, this week's host, Saturday Night Live probably wouldn't be around for Season 45. SNL creator Lorne Michaels left the show in 1980 after five seasons, leading to several turbulent years for the NBC institution. Murphy, who was 19 when he made his SNL debut in December 1980 as a featured player, is credited with helping revitalize the show after he was promoted to the repertory cast after just one month. “It would have been very difficult, I think, to have kept the show on the air without Eddie,” said Dick Ebersol, the NBC executive who helped Michaels launch SNL and who took over the show after Michaels' successor Jean Doumanian was fired, in James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ SNL oral history book, Live From New York. “The show would absolutely would have launched for the 1983-84 season, but he was still the main draw. And it would have been pretty hard, I think, to keep up the show long enough to get to the next year.” ALSO: Check out SNL's rundown for the last time Eddie Murphy hosted on Dec. 15, 1984.

Recalling Eddie Murphy's SNL debut at age 19: He became a life preserver on the show's worst-ever season

Murphy made his debut as a Saturday Night Live featured player on Dec. 6, 1980 in the middle of a "Weekend Update" segment anchored by Joe Piscopo. "Back then, Eddie Murphy was all of 19 years old," says Alan Siegel. "The late-night series’s overwhelmingly white writing staff barely seemed to know that the young black man existed." But two writers, Barry Blaustein and his writing partner David Sheffield, wanted to do a "Weekend Update" bit parodying the news that a mostly black Cleveland high school had been ordered to diversity and add white players. So they turned to Murphy. “I asked Eddie if he thought he could do anything with it,” says Blaustein. “And then he wrote something up and he showed it to David Sheffield and myself. It was really, really good.” As former ESPN columnist J.A. Adande points out, SNL wasn't used to Murphy's skin color. "Notice they have to open the camera iris after he comes on, a sign of how they weren't used to having someone with darker skin on the show," says Adande. Siegel adds that "Murphy’s first season is widely considered the worst in the 45-year history of the series, but he became a life preserver whose presence helped save Saturday Night Live from drowning." As Sheffield notes, “the show would’ve been canceled without Eddie."

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