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SNL hypes Alec Baldwin as its new Trump. Can it capitalize on the record-shattering debate?

🕐 2 min read

It wasn’t clear who would be impersonating Donald Trump during upcoming season of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” We now have our answer, and it’s a familiar face: Alec Baldwin.

Trump had previously been impersonated by former cast member Darrell Hammond, and Taran Killam, whose contract wasn’t renewed for the show’s 42nd season.

On Wednesday, SNL previewed its mock debate between Baldwin-as-Trump and Kate McKinnon-as-Hillary Clinton. (McKinnon won an Emmy this month for her role on SNL and, in her acceptance speech, thanked Clinton.)

Baldwin is a longtime friend of the show and has hosted 16 times, more than anyone. He has used the series to showcase comedic chops he didn’t typically display in his other projects — at least until he starred in “30 Rock,” which, like SNL, features Lorne Michaels as executive producer.

When Trump hosted SNL last November, the show faced controversy, bad reviews and big ratings.

The show doesn’t usually announce or promote cameos ahead of an episode. But the election is less than a couple of months away, and political satire is SNL’s bread and butter. Perhaps the show wanted to seize the moment after Monday’s presidential debate, which set a record for a political event with 84 million viewers. Imagine how many will tune in to see its parody.

SNL has been knocking it out of the park with actors performing cameo political impersonations. Tina Fey won an Emmy for playing Sarah Palin. And Larry David as Bernie Sanders was bafflingly spot-on; the comedian had to do so little to play Sanders so perfectly.

But it’s unclear what Baldwin’s take on Trump will be. He doesn’t appear to have performed as Trump publicly before, although he does have a knack for impersonations.

The arrangement the show has with Baldwin will be similar to what it had with David, who played Sanders over multiple episodes, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Last year, as Baldwin spoke about the need for campaign finance reform on Howard Stern’s show, he said, “If Trump was the GOP nominee, it’s exactly what we deserve right now with the system we have.”

NBC also announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda will host its Oct. 8 show. This Saturday’s show will be hosted by Margot Robbie, with musical guest The Weeknd.

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