Live From New York - LAist @ Saturday Night Live
LAist has had a regular column about television for almost two years now - we're not saying it's a good column, but it's been very regular, which is something to think about as you get older. While Los Angeles has been a mecca of film for the last 75 years or so the migration of TV production to Los Angeles didn't really begin until 50 years ago. For the most part, TV, like radio, started in New York City (please, no snarky comments about Philo T. Farnsworth inventing TV in San Francisco) where all the major networks are still based along with MTV, Comedy Central, HBO, and it's where more than 100 TV shows are produced.
Because of TV's origins as a live medium, for purists, the most important program on TV is "Saturday Night Live". Some of this might be lost on West Coast denizens, but on the East Coast, when a new episode of SNL hits the TV, it's broadcast live. What LA gets is a rebroadcast of a live show, which is kind of a shame because of these goddam things called time zones and advertising contracts and restricted material (although this last point is very very weak now because of the "mature" material that is broadcast 24-7 on cable). OK, so the "Today Show" and news programs are broadcast live as well, and in this day and age news is becoming more "performance" than anything else, but SNL is an hour and a half of topical comedy and music performed live, without a safety net and that's what makes it special. Does anyone remember what a big stink was made about "ER" and "Scrubs" doing a live show each? Well that's what SNL has to do every time and the show deserves more credit for it.