To avoid paying royalties, some syndicated versions remove the musical performances and the mention of the musical guests in the opening credits is also removed.
Episodes were cut into one hour "Best of Saturday Night Live" format for prime time viewing on NBC in the late 1970s. Edited 1-hour episodes from 1975-1980 were sold into syndication, and subsequently, 30 minute episodes sold into syndication and cable (Nick at Nite for a time). The 1980-present episodes were sold to Comedy Central, and then to E!
As of 2019, hour-long reruns from most eras of the show are played most Saturdays during the time of the regular season at 10:00 p.m. on NBC. These versions have one musical performance instead of two, and a few sketches per episode from the original airing are taken out of these broadcasts. Also, approximately half of "Weekend Update" is removed so that an episode can air in one hour. There is a title screen before the cold open that reads "This episode, featuring host [NAME] and musical guest [NAME], originally aired on [MONTH DAY, YEAR], as part of SNL's [number] season.
Appears in truncated form on Comedy Central.
In a Nat X sketch, Chris Rock's character Nat X says a line that's edited a little when aired on TV but is unedited on the home video release. The line goes: "I've seen more action in a Cambodian Whorehouse." When aired on Comdy Central, the Cambodian part is bleeped out. When aired on NBC both Cambodian and Whorehouse are bleeped.
Two more sketches of Chris Rock's were edited for TV and not for video. For example, the "Russell Simmonds' Def Emergency Room Jam" has all the bad words bleeped, on NBC the part where the doctor (Chris) yells "Breathe nigga!" three times changed to one. When released to video on THE BEST OF CHRIS ROCK, the only edited parts are the bad words bleeped, but when released under THE BAD BOYS OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, no bad words are bleeped, except for the f-word. In the other one, "Russell Simmonds Def Magic Show Jam", swear words are all bleeped out. But when released on the home video: THE BAD BOYS OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, all the bad words are intact, except for the f-word. But when the BAD BOYS program aired on TV, the edited version was played.
Edited into two different forms: Half-hour formats which aired in primetime during the late 1970's, and entire 90-minute episodes edited to one hour for syndicated broadcast and later airing on Comedy Central.
Episodes and skits have been repackaged in many formats for video release, and for special retrospectives aired in prime time.
In recent years, episodes are often reedited for syndication and rebroadcast, often with skits and/or individual jokes that were taped during dress rehearsal being substituted for segments that either didn't work the first time, or were considered offensive.
In the United Kingdom the early 1990s, to tie-in with the release of the big-screen Wayne's World movie, various Wayne's World segments of Saturday Night Live, were packaged into a series of 10 minute shows, broadcast on Wednesday evenings at 6:50p.m. on BBC2. As Saturday Night has never been shown on terrestrial UK TV, the film and these short episodes were the first time most UK audiences had seen Wayne and Garth.
Singer Sinead O'Connor's controversial performance, where she rips apart a picture of Pope John Paul II, has not been seen since its original airing. In reruns and syndication, the dress rehearsal performance is aired, where O'Connor simply holds up a picture of a third-world child.