Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

Let me just take you through what will happen when you leave. When you leave, the show will get worse. But not all of a sudden — gradually. And it will take the audience a while to figure that out. Maybe two, maybe three years. And when it gets to be, you know, awful, and the audience has abandoned it, then we will cancel it. And the show will be gone, but we will still be here, because we’re the network and we are eternal. If you read your contract closely, it says that the show is to be ninety minutes in length. It is to cost X. That’s the budget. Nowhere in that do we ever say that it has to be good. And if you are so robotic and driven that you feel the pressure to push yourself in that way to make it good, don’t come to us and say you’ve been treated unfairly, because you’re trying hard to make it good and we’re getting in your way. Because at no point did we ask for it to be good. That you’re neurotic is a bonus to us. Our job is to lie, cheat, and steal — and your job is to do the show.
— NBC Entertainment exec Irwin Segelstein to Lorne Michaels when he resigned from SNL in 1979

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