02:54 - Source: CNN
The sketches that made 'SNL' great again
CNN  — 

“SNL” is coming off one of its best-rated and critically lauded seasons ever. So, can they do it again?

That’s the question heading into Saturday’s Season 43 premiere of the long-running sketch series, which just weeks ago won nine Emmy Awards, including one for outstanding variety sketch series.

Though the true answer to the query will reveal itself over the season, the momentum is undeniable.

Ahead of its return, here’s a look at how the show is trying to keep its streak of success going.

CNN was the first to report that Baldwin was planning to make his return as Trump this fall, and the time has come.

Alec Baldwin is set to return

Of course, Baldwin wasn’t sure as of Thursday exactly what his reprise would entail, telling USA Today, “We really don’t know, nor do we try to figure that out as early as Thursday.”

Baldwin won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy for his “SNL” take on Trump last season.

Their first host of the season is a favorite

“Blade Runner 2049” star Ryan Gosling will be back in Studio 8H to host “SNL” for the second time.

His previous hosting gig earned solid reviews, especially for a sketch in which Gosling himself had trouble keeping composure.

Gosling’s return could get the season off to a strong start.

There’s new blood

Comedians Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner and Luke Null are joining the cast this season, following the departure of Bobby Moynihan, Sasheer Zamata and Vanessa Bayer.

The rest of the core cast, led by two-time Emmy winner Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson, will be back. “Weekend Update” will be hosted for a fourth season by Colin Jost and Michael Che.

We’ll see what the newbies bring to the mix. Based on Redd’s standup work, he could be the next “SNL” standout.

They’re live coast-to-coast again

After going live across the country for the first time last year, “SNL” is sticking with the formula.

As NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said, the move helps viewers be in “on the joke at the same time.”

Bonus: an earlier airtime means West Coasters can watch the show and still have a good chunk of Saturday night to enjoy. Or, you know, watch “SNL” again when it repeats at 11:30 p.m.