Lorne Michaels had a vision: to bring live late-night comedy/variety to
television. NBC was playing reruns of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" on Saturday nights, but wanted to feature new programming instead. And so, "Saturday Night Live" was born, albeit under the name "NBC's Saturday Night", since sportscaster Howard Cosell was already using the name for his prime-time comedy/variety show. To mock him even further, Michaels dubbed his cast members "The Not Ready For Prime Time Players", after Cosell's own "Prime Time Players".
Despite the overabundance of material for the first show (which included two musical guests, an Albert Brooks film, a Muppets piece and several commercial parodies), "SNL" found a vacancy in viewers' eyes. As standard throughout the years that followed, "SNL" beat the competition, and the only thing to survive Cosell's show was a young comedian named Billy Murray, who would join the successful NBC comedy program during its second season.