Saturday Night Live Wiki
And now from New York, the most dangerous city in America, it's Saturday Night... Live!
—Opening used by new announcer Mel Brandt

Saturday Night Live aired its seventh season in 1981, ending in 1982. Many changes were made in this season, as many cast members were removed, and many added. During this season, former castmember John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin in 1982.


The season was the first full season for new producer Dick Ebersol, who brought in an almost entirely new cast. Also joining the show was head writer Michael O'Donoghue. Tempers began to flare, however, due to O'Donoghue's angry and belligerent style. The previous season, he had scared Catherine O'Hara off the show before her first episode; during the first part of the season, most of the cast took a strong dislike to him and the other writers. Tim Kazurinsky contemplated quitting, only to be talked out by former SNL castmember John Belushi.[1] At a pre-Christmas break meeting to discuss constructive criticism, which O'Donoghue was excluded from but showed up anyway, O'Donoghue ranted against the current cast, telling Mary Gross that she was "so untalented that she should be selling shoes" and shouting that Eddie Murphy needed acting lessons. Tired of his style and the problems he was causing, Ebersol fired him in short order, and he was gone by the first episode in January.[2]

In an attempt to reinvent the show, the opening format was significantly changed. Original announcer Don Pardo was dropped before the season, and another network announcer, Mel Brandt, started the show instead. (Pardo would return for the following season, though Brandt would continue contributing voiceovers for sketches for many years.) Also gone were the cold open sketches, replaced often by title card gags listing a fictional sponsor. The opening sketches later returned, but the classic "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night" wasn't heard again until the following season.

Most of the cast had been hired for the last episode of the previous season, but there were two additions: Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole. Brian Doyle-Murray, who had gone from writer, to featured player in season 5, to writer in season 6, was re-promoted to featured player, of which he was the only one. Murray hosted the news segment, retitled SNL Newsbreak.

Due to creative differences, Tony Rosato, Christine Ebersole, and Brian Doyle-Murray were let go at the end of the season.



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Episode Guide[]

The May 22 show credited the SNL Band as the musical guest, though it was host Olivia Newton-John who performed the musical numbers.





  1. Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live
  2. Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live
Preceded by:
Season 6
Season 7
(1981— 1982)
Followed by:
Season 8