Recurring reports have "SNL" on the verge of extinction. Recently, executive producer Lorne Michaels, who brought Miller aboard, was said to have his head on the chopping block. NBC officials emphatically deny that Michaels was ever on his way out, and NBC program head Brandon Tartikoff insists there has to be a place on the schedule for something like "SNL."
His father, Walter Miller, was a NBC director for years. Dave Wilson, "SNL" director for the first 11 years, was once his father's assistant director, and the younger Miller grew up knowing his "SNL" predecessor. When Wilson went on to direct David Brenner's syndicated series, the younger Miller moved east from Los Angeles to assume his position.
Everything for "SNL" is done at the last possible moment, which some critics say may be a reason for its adolescent humor. Miller admits that doing "SNL" live is, at best, a somewhat complex endeavor. Robin Williams and Paul Simon, tonight's respective host and musical host, held their first camera rehearsal only Wednesday. When the show is on consecutive weeks, work begins following an abbreviated weekend that offers only Sunday and part of Monday off.