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Lorne Michaels is a television producer known for creating and shaping the late-night show Saturday Night Live.
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While many cast members characterize him as a paternal mentor, others find him cold and withholding. Specifically in the context of SNL auditions, Michaels is described as intimidating and cryptic, often making comedians wait for hours outside his office before speaking to them. Michaels is also known for having a full bowl of popcorn in his office, and for perpetually employing three young female assistants who have been dubbed "the Lornettes."
Tom Shales and James Miller published Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, a book including anecdotes—both flattering and demonizing—about Michaels from cast members and guest hosts over the years. Michaels has reportedly never read the book, and doesn't intend to. When it comes to comedy, he admits to being a perfectionist who takes his work very seriously.
Lorne Michaels founded his production company, Broadway Video, in 1979. The company is known for producing such shows as Kids in the Hall, as well as films based on SNL sketch acts like Wayne's World and Tommy Boy.
Additionally, Michaels is known for nurturing the talent that he discovers on SNL. He selected Conan O'Brien, then a writer on SNL, to host Late Night after David Letterman left NBC for CBS. Michaels served as the executive producer of Late Night and retained his position when Jimmy Fallon took over the show in 2009. He is also slated to serve as executive producer of The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon takes over for Jay Leno in 2014—marking the first time in 40 years that the show will film in New York City. Additionally, Michaels will serve as executive producer of Late Night with Seth Meyers, premiering in 2014 with the former SNL head writer as its host.
In addition to late-night shows, Michaels has served as executive producer on projects by former SNL cast member Tina Fey, including the critically acclaimed 30 Rock; SNL cast member Fred Armisen's IFC show, Portlandia; and former SNL writer Emily Spivey's series, Up All Night.
Michaels is good friends with Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Steve Martin. He was married to Rosie Schuster from 1973 to 1980, and to Susan Forristal from 1984 to 1987. In 1999, Michaels married Alice Barry, with whom he has three children.
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