CRAIG KELLEM: There was a momentum from the beginning, but what was interesting was that, even though I don't remember the ratings being unbelievable after the first couple of shows, Lorne - ever the decider of what was what - decided the show was a hit right from the beginning and acted out of that belief, and it was infectious. I remember what he said. He said, quote, "I guess we're a hit." I thought, "Where's that coming from?" But it was vintage Lorne Michaels. He believed it was a hit. He felt good about it. It got on the air. He looked on the bright side of the numbers and the bright side of the reviews. He certainly got good feedback from friends and family. And that was it. It was a hit show. It's wonderful, the strength of his belief in how he sees things in this world. He's also not the type of guy who's going to humbly share credit for something when he feels and thinks that it's his baby, and why should he share, particularly with Dick Ebersol? Ebersol came from ABC, where he worked for Roone Arledge, and Roone managed to work his way into being executive producer and was also the network guy. So I think Ebersol kind of wanted to follow in Roone's path and had a sort of stage-door-Johnny aspect to his persona and wanted to be part of it and wanted to be one of the gang. But he wasn't one of the gang. He was Dick Ebersol from NBC.
DICK EBERSOL: Lorne and I never had any real disagreements between us until the fourth show, the first time Candice Bergen did the show. There was a complete fuckup that night with NBC, where they made this enormous electronic mistake. They basically cued real commercials off of fake commercials. Somebody wasn't paying attention in broadcast control. And Lorne went nuts. If you asked Lorne what I contributed to the show, what I think he would say is that during the development stage and the launch, I created an island on which he could exist and no one else could touch him.
LORNE MICHAELS: Candy's show, the fourth show, was the first show, I would say, that was a Saturday Night Live like the ones we have now. The week before, when Rob Reiner hosted, Andy Kaufman did a long piece, there was a long Albert Brooks film, and a long monologue by Rob. On the Candy show, we sort of hit our stride. We'd had our first week off, and we worked hard on the writing.
DICK EBERSOL: Now comes week five. New York magazine comes out with Chevy Chase - on the cover. John is radically pissed off, because he sees Chevy running away with the show; now it's going to be all about Chevy. Onstage, John had been the star, not Chevy. We do show six, which is a wonderful week, Lily Tomlin's come to do the show. Now we got Thanksgiving off. On Friday, we all get an advance copy of the Sunday New York Times. Major story: Saturday Night Live is called the most important and most exciting development in television comedy since Your Show of Shows. It's this drop-dead b--- j-- It was just unbelievable. And this is the same New York Times that did not even review show one with George Carlin. They also printed a review that John J. O'Connor wrote on the second show, where Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel got together again for the first time, and his review essentially was that the show was not very good, but he couldn't be entirely fair in saying that because he missed connections on his way home from dinner on the subway, and so he missed forty minutes of the show. Can you believe that they f------ printed that thing?