November 17, 2007 -- In its first dramatic move since the beginning of the Writers Guild strike, NBC has fired "nearly the entire production staff" of its struggling, late-night staple, "Saturday Night Live," sources told Page Six.
One tipster told us, " 'SNL' laid off all their staff until further notice. Their production staff, even long-term employees, were let go." Another source confirmed that "90 percent of the 'SNL' staff was fired."
And while The Washington Post reported yesterday that NBC might lay staff off at Jay Leno's "Tonight" show, "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Last Call With Carson Daly" - all of which immediately went into rerun mode on Nov. 5 - those staffers would at least get paid for two more weeks. But an insider confirmed to us that "SNL" staffers got no severance.
Although no official announcement had been made as of last night about firings at any of NBC's late-night shows, multiple sources confirmed to us that "SNL" staffers learned of their axing yesterday morning. Reps for NBC declined comment.
Despite being scrooged out of their Christmas-season paychecks, the "SNL" crew still has a big heart. Playbill reports that the cast plans to perform a nontelevised show tonight at the New York Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on West 26th Street. Ticket proceeds from the sold-out performance, which was produced by Lorne Michaels, will benefit the Writers Guild's strike fund.
The strike has drawn such famous-faced picketers as Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin in Los Angeles and "SNL" alumna and current "30 Rock" star Tina Fey in New York to the picket lines. The writers have been fighting for a slice of the dough that networks make off of DVD sales and Internet-streamed content.