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May 04, 2023

'Saturday Night Live' cancels May 6 episode featuring Lil Uzi Vert amid writers strike

A rerun will be aired this weekend because 'SNL,' like most other late-night shows, has gone dark during the work stoppage

Fans expecting to watch Lil Uzi Vert perform the Eagles playoff anthem, "Just Wanna Rock," on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend should make other plans.

The 27-year-old North Philly rapper was scheduled to make their "SNL" debut as the musical guest on May 6. Instead, amid the strike by the Writers Guild of America, "SNL" has stopped production on the episode, which was going to bring back former cast member Pete Davidson as host.

NBC said it will run reruns of the show "until further notice." This likely means that there will be additional episodes in Season 48, because the sketch show usually goes on summer hiatus after May. The last new episode, hosted by Ana de Armas with musical guest Karol G, aired April 15.

Movies and TV shows are beginning to feel the impacts of the first Hollywood writers strike in 15 years. Along with "SNL," the top late-night shows, which are staffed by writers that create the jokes their hosts tell, all quickly went dark. "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" Comedy Central's "Daily Show," ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," CBS's "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" and NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers" all have switched to re-runs this week. 

About 11,500 film and television writers represented by the WGA ceased working Tuesday after failing to reach a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association that represents Hollywood studios and production companies.

This strike has been brewing for some time, with 98% of WGA members voting to authorize a strike last month. Writers have grown frustrated with shrinking TV writer rooms and their pay not keeping pace with inflation. The onset of streaming has created more jobs for writers, but they say they are working under strained conditions and making less than before.

Depending how long the strike lasts, the labor dispute could have a domino effect on upcoming TV and film productions. While live TV shows already have been upended, it could take longer for the strike's impact on scripted series and films to be felt. Should the strike continue through summer, fall TV schedules could be demolished.

Many TV show writer rooms are already going dark, including the team behind "Abbott Elementary," the ABC sitcom about Philadelphia public school teachers. A writer from the show, Brittani Nichols, told Democracy Now that the show's third season may be shortened depending on the timeline of the strike.

"Abbott Elementary" creator and star Quinta Brunson, who is a writer represented by the WGA, took to Twitter to express her support for the cause, noting that she likely will be joining protestors on the picket line upon her return to Los Angeles. 

"This strike also isn't about me, and I don't want to make it about me," Brunson wrote. "It's about all writers ... support the (WGA). No show or movie you love is written without… writers."

She also discussed her support for the strike Monday at the Met Gala.

The last writers strike began in 2007 and lasted 100 days, costing Los Angeles an estimated $2.1 billion in economic output. "SNL" was forced to cut its season to 12 episodes instead of the usual 20 or 21, making it the shortest season in the history of the series. This time, "SNL" only may lose three episodes.

"We have to think about our crew too," a cast member told Deadline. "I absolutely support the writers, and I want the writers to get what they deserve and need, but I don't want our crew to be out of work. We can't make this art without each other."

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