On September 11th, 2001, 18 days prior to "Saturday Night Live"'s 27th season premiere, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City. It seemed that life as America knew it had come to a halt, but President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani (two politicians lampooned regularly on "SNL") declared that the city would overcome the tragedy. As proof, the Mayor himself appeared on the season premiere to pay tribute to the men, women and children whose lives were lost in the attack, and to encourage "SNL" to let the show go on.
Not returning the late-night comedy institution was Jerry Minor, who, as a featured performer, played a very minor role indeed during the 2000 season. Chris Parnell had also been let go from the cast, but managed to find his way back into the inner sanctum by the March 2nd, 2002 episode, and stayed for the remainder of the season. Four new featured performers - Dean Edwards, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler and Jeff Richards - were added to the cast. Of the four, Poehler's star shined the brightest, as she was quickly upgraded to full cast member status after the Christmas break.