Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
Sunday, Feb. 15, 7 pm, NBC
Saturday Night Live started as a cutting-edge countercultural replacement for weekend airings of The Tonight Show. But it grew to become an American institution -- a star-making vehicle for multiple generations of comedians and actors and one of the longest-running television shows in U.S. history.
Dozens of former cast members and other celebrities are scheduled to appear during this live three-hour special, including Bill Murray, frequent host Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy (his first return to the show since 1984), Mike Myers, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey.
Like the rebel that becomes the establishment, SNL has lost some edge over 40 years -- but the show's significance as a breeding ground for cultural touchstones is unparalleled: Countless movies, sitcoms, series and musical acts trace their origins to the uneven but magical shows that began when Johnny Carson wanted more time off.