There’s something about putting Maya Rudolph and Martin Short on live TV from inside 30 Rock that just works.
It did for Rudolph from 2000-2007, it did for Short in 1984-1985, and it worked magically for the two of them together a year ago this weekend for SNL 40.
So NBC is hoping the magic continues, officially ordering up a live weekly variety showcase, tentatively titled Maya and Marty in Manhattan, debuting in May. Variety broke the news last night, reporting that Lorne Michaels will executive produce, with Matt Roberts and Erin David producing alongside the two stars.
The idea of pairing Rudolph and Short has been in the works since last summer — after NBC decided to pass on a variety show starring just Rudolph, but before the network’s short-lived live primetime showcase for Neil Patrick Harris didn’t generate the hoped-for buzz or ratings. Sources late last year suggested to me that NBC still was trying to make the NPH variety showcase work and move production from Queens to Hollywood, but then thought otherwise. Word of the Maya and Marty order allegedly circulated wide through the halls of Lincoln Center on Thursday, where both performers and more SNL alums paid tribute to Michaels and his show’s showcasing of music.
Here’s a look back 52 weekends ago at Maya and Marty at SNL40: