From Milton Berle to 'SNL' to 'American Idol,' here's how live TV has evolved over the years
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“Saturday Night Live”
It's right there in the catchphrase that leads into the opening credits of every episode for 40-plus years: "Live, from New York, it's Saturday night!" Lorne Michaels wanted his new sketch comedy show to be live to create a sense of danger and spontaneity, though many of the moments that fit that bill tended to be ones that the franchise would rather forget, like Charles Rocket dropping an F-bomb at the end of his disastrous run as star of the show's second cast, or Sinead O'Connor tearing up a photo of the pope during a musical performance. These days, the live nature of the show is most apparent when cast members crack each other up during sketches, which Michaels originally despised, but eventually came to accept as part of the process.