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'SNL' DIVES BACK IN TO SPEAR POLITICIANS

Saturday Night Live has missed a lot of the political season but hopes there will be plenty left to skewer now that it's making new episodes again.

Saturday Night Live has been gone for so long that you'll never know who its Mitt Romney impersonator was going to be.

The writers strike-imposed absence of the NBC institution ends this weekend with the first of four straight weeks of new shows, the first time that breakneck schedule has been tried since 1976.

"The last time we did it, it almost killed us," said Lorne Michaels, the show's veteran executive producer.

Former head writer Tina Fey is the first guest host, with Carrie Underwood the musical guest.

The last new Saturday Night Live aired Nov. 3. It was such a generation ago politically that the opening skit was about a party at Hillary Clinton's house where she was portrayed as the presumptive president - with the real Barack Obama taking a cameo role.

That's what irritated Michaels and cast member Seth Meyers, also the show's lead writer, so much. The show prides itself on political parody, and during one of the most exciting nomination contests in generations, they've been sidelined. "I was in a rage for three of the four months," Michaels said, "then I sort of calmed down."

Even though shows with Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert returned without writers until the strike was settled, Michaels said it was never an option at SNL. NBC placed no pressure on him to do so, either. Part of the reason Michaels picked Fey for the first show back is that her position as former head writer and cast member gives comfort.

Watch it

Saturday Night Live

The show returns with a new episode at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, with guest host Tina Fey and musical guest Carrie Underwood, on WFLA-Ch. 8.

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