Saturday Night Live aired its seventh season during the 1981–1982 television season on NBC. The seventh season started on October 3, 1981 and ended on May 22, 1982. A total of 20 episodes were broadcast.
Following the dismissal of producer Jean Doumanian and most of her cast members, the show was shut down due to the commencement of the 1981 WGA strike.
Dick Ebersol, the program's developer, was hired as Doumanian's replacement. The new cast of Saturday Night Live for this season were the same ones from the episode Ebersol produced on the April 11, 1981 episode: Robin Duke, Tim Kazurinsky and Tony Rosato along with the Doumanian era's sole survivors Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Denny Dillon and Gail Matthius were fired following the April 1981 episode while Laurie Metcalf and unseen castmember Emily Prager weren't asked back to be cast members on the show.
Ebersol then hired two new cast members: Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole. Both were hired to fill the gap left by Metcalf and Prager.
Wanting to distance the show from its first five seasons, Ebersol cut the popular opening line Live from New York, It's Saturday Night! from the cold openings. In fact, sometimes cold openings weren't even shown and the monologues were skipped over almost entirely. These changes were not permanent, as Ebersol decided to reverse them for the eighth season.
SNL goes without a guest host for the premiere episode of the 1981/82 season.
TV vet Susan Saint James hosts with a special film by Andy Warhol.
Oscar-winner George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) hosts, with a special appearance by John Candy.
Film and TV favorite Donald Pleasance hosts with a cameo by John Belushi.
Lauren Hutton, star of American Gigolo hosts.
Golden Globe and Tony Award-winner Bernadette Peters brings her many talents to SNL.
Rocky Horror Picture Show star Tim Curry hosts, with special guest appearances by Bryant Gumbel and Meat Loaf.
SNL great Bill Murray returns to host the 1981 Christmas episode.
Star of TV's Wild Wild West Robert Conrad hosts.
Football icon John Madden guest stars.
Oscar-winner James Coburn hosts.
Prolific character actor Bruce Dern takes the spotlight as host.
Tony-winner Elizabeth Ashley hosts,with a special performance by Harry Anderson.
Longtime television staple Robert Urich hosts.
Blythe Danner, multi-talented star of stage and screen comes to SNL.
Hill Street Blues star Daniel Travanti hosts.
Johnny Cash pulls double-duty as musical guest and host.
Actor/director/writer Robert Culp hosts.
The cast of Taxi (including Andy Kaufman) helps Danny DeVito host this 1982 episode.
Grease star and singer Olivia Newton-John hosts the season finale.