HRTS: Michaels on 'SNL' Future -- 'I'll Do It as Long as I Possibly Can'

'SNL' boss talks 'Tonight Show' move, TV's role following tragedies during Newsmaker Luncheon event
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With Lorne Michaels roughly a year away from taking the reigns of NBC's Tonight Show, it's fair to wonder how much longer he will run Saturday Night Live, the show he created and executive produces.

"I'll do it as long as I possibly can," said Micheals during a conversation as part of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's Newsmaker Luncheon event Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The conversation was moderated by actor and former SNL cast member Martin Short.

"I think that there will be a moment at some point when I will look at it and [realize] I don't have the same edge I used to," Michaels sad.

Michaels was asked about the Tonight Show and its impending move back to New York when Late Night host Jimmy Fallon succeeds Jay Leno next spring.

"Jimmy's from New York, the show has such a feel of New York; he has the energy of the city," he said. "I feel that peoples' opinion of New York is different than it was when Carson left, I think New York was on its ass at that time."

He also quipped to Short: "Now, with air travel, stars can come to New York."

He was asked about the changes in the business since he launched SNL back in 1975. "On the business side, it's completely different," he said, adding that one of the bigger differences now is there are many more people he has to deal with. He added when he started the show, nobody older than 35 watched it.

On the positive side, Michaels lauded the proliferation of viral video, which expands the show's reach. "We can do a digital short, and people in Bulgaria know it," he said. "The influence is so much greater and you're just not playing for this neighborhood anymore"

Even with SNL about to wrap its 38th season, Michaels doesn't see the longrunning sketch show going away. "As long as it's relevant it should be on."

Michaels briefly touched on the role of television during tragic real-world events in light of Monday's bombing during the Boston Marathon. Michaels said that television "has an obligation and a responsibility" to be "connected" to what is happening in the world.

"You can't divide it into news and entertainment," he said. "You're dealing with something that's way bigger than you can possibly comprehend."

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