Saturday Night Live aired its twenty-third season during the 1997–98 television season on NBC. The twenty-third season started September 27, 1997 and ended on May 9, 1998, with 20 episodes being produced. A few changes happened before the start of the season; Colin Quinn was promoted to repertory status and Mark McKinney left the show while Fred Wolf left in the start of the twenty-second season. This season was also notable for not having any featured players or any new cast members. This season was also the only season to have an opening sequence that didn't show any shots of New York City, being replaced by a 1950's-inspired design.
This season was notable for the controversy surrounding Weekend Update. Anchor Norm Macdonald angered NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer. Macdonald often told O. J. Simpson jokes in the Update segment which upset Ohlmeyer, who was good friends with Simpson and did not find the jokes funny. Ohlmeyer then fired Macdonald from the segment, but not from the show, since Ohlmeyer thought he did better in sketches than on Update. His final Update was in the episode hosted by Helen Hunt. Quinn was then promoted to the job and began anchoring the segment in the episode hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Even though Macdonald still performed in sketches, he was not happy and his stay on the show was short-lived. He ended up quitting the show a few months after getting demoted from Weekend Update. His final appearance was in the show hosted by Julianne Moore.
Two months after his paralleling with John Belushi ended at age 33, Chris Farley was given a tremendous memorial via a selection of his most unforgettable sketches and characters. Included were ""Matt Foley,"" ""Chippendale's Audition,"" ""Andrew Giuliani,"" and ""El NiÃ±o."" Also included are some raucous dress rehearsal footage.
Action superstar Sylvester Stallone kicks off the 1997/98 season in this premiere episode.
Matthew Perry is the latest Friends costar to host.
After starring in The Mummy, Brendan Fraser gets back to comedy when he hosts SNL.
SNL favorite Chris Farley returns to host, with cameo appearances by fellow alumni Chevy Chase and Chris Rock.
Former SNL cast member Jon Lovitz returns to host, with a guest appearance by Dana Carvey.
Romeo and Juliet star Claire Danes hosts.
NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani hosts this famous episode. It wouldn't be the last time Giuliani dressed in drag.
Stage and screen star Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Producers) hosts.
Oscar-winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets) hosts, with cameo appearances by Jack Nicholson and fifteen MLB stars.
Samuel L. Jackson can be seen in just about every movie, and now, on SNL too. He hosts this week.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar hosts.
In the midst of the Monica Lewinski scandal John Goodman was a frequent guest. This week he hosts.
Touched By An Angel star Roma Downey hosts.
Country music superstar Garth Brooks hosts.
Primetime soap star Scott Wolf tries some late night comedy when he hosts SNL.
Academy Award-nominee Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) is the host.
Steve Buscemi fits right in as host of SNL. Special appearances by Lewis Lapham, John Hurt and Natasha Henstridge.
As Good As It Gets co-star Greg Kinnear hosts.
For the first time in several years, Matthew Broderick is the host of SNL.
David Duchovny is back to host this finale episode of the 1997/98 season.