WHAT’s going on be hind the scenes at “Saturday Night Live” this month may be more dramatic than any thing you’ll see on the two prime-time shows starting this fall based on the famed late-night comedy.
Four cast members are about to be fired – they know who they are, but the public doesn’t.
Two others – including the undisputed star of “SNL,” Tina Fey – are gone.
Auditions are about to begin for the signature spot on the show, anchor of the snarky “Weekend Update.”
And because there will be two new shows that use “SNL” as their back drop – Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and Fey’s “30 Rock” – the late-night comedy show will be attracting more attention than it has in years.
Lorne Michaels, the show’s boss and guiding personality for nearly 30 years – and the producer of “30 Rock” – has less than six weeks to get it all done.
“The history of ‘SNL’ has been that people step up,” Michaels told the Post yesterday. “It’s just been that way, at least so far. I think there are people there now who are going to be brilliant.”
The man who has shared the headwriter’s job with Fey for years, Seth Myers, is expected to become the show’s sole head writer.
And Fey’s second bannana on “Weekend Update,” Amy Poehler, is also expected to be back, even as Rachel Dratch leaves to work on “30 Rock” full time.
“It’s always hard when you’re giving up good people,” he says. The show has motored over rough road – most memorably in 1980 and 1995, when the show underwent wholesale cast changes and which, by no coincidence, were the two worst-received seasons ever.
“After about four years . . . there’s a staleness that comes over the show,” Michaels says.