25. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE 

Season One writers: Anne Beatts, Chevy Chase, Al Franken, Lorne Michaels, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Paul Mooney, Garrett Morris, Michael O’Donoghue, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel  

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Aired: NBC, 1975-Present

In his 2009 memoir, writer-performer Tom Davis conjures the small gang of writers standing outside Lorne Michaels’ office at the inception of SNL in July of 1975. “There were Herb Sargent, Michael O’Donoghue (his friends called him Mr. Mike), Anne Beats, Alan Zweibel, Tom Schiller, Chevy Chase, and [Al] Franken and Davis. We were all checking each other out and wondering what to think,” Davis writes. In its 37 years, comedy stars have been born, and the show has endured rumors of its imminent demise. What remains, for the writers, is the system – every week dozens and dozens of sketches live or die from the mid-week table read to the moment the guest host says, “Live from New York…” “Lorne launched into the first of a lifetime series of lectures on comic theory and the history of show business,” Davis wrote of that initial writers’ meeting.

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