The next host of 'Saturday Night Live'? Donald Trump

Trump will reportedly host the late-night program on Nov. 7. Presidential candidates appearing on the program is nothing new, but a candidate taking on hosting duties is more unusual.

Charlie Neibergall/AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump will reportedly be appearing on “Saturday Night Live” – and unlike many candidates, he’s taking on the big job. 

Mr. Trump will host the late-night comedy show on Nov. 7. He hosted the show in 2004 and has also served as the host of NBC’s reality competition “The Apprentice.”  

Presidential candidate Al Sharpton hosted the show in 2003.

According to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, Trump is in the lead among Republican presidential candidates, with Ben Carson behind him and Marco Rubio in third. 

“SNL” has already had a cast member portray Trump on the show – veteran “SNL” cast member Taran Killam has been portraying the candidate so far this season, a role that had previously been taken on by “SNL” actor Darrell Hammond.

The late-night show has portrayed presidents and candidates since its inception when Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford. The program memorably influenced the political conversation during the 2008 race when former cast member Tina Fey returned to play vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. 

A study in 2012 found that young independent and Republican voters were less likely to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin once they had seen Ms. Fey’s impression. Fey won an Emmy Award for best guest actress on a comedy series for her work and “SNL” itself experienced a huge ratings boost during the 2008 election season. 

“SNL” has become a frequent stop for presidential candidates, but most of the time it’s to put in an appearance rather than to host. In an episode that aired earlier this month, Hillary Clinton dropped by to chat during a sketch with cast member Kate McKinnon, who was portraying her. Mr. McCain appeared on “SNL” during the 2008 campaign and President Obama appeared during 2007. 

Presidential candidates have popped up elsewhere in the late-night landscape as well. Mr. Obama appeared multiple times on the Comedy Central program “The Daily Show” and has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” while candidate Mitt Romney appeared on CBS’s “Late Show” during the 2012 election. Trump himself recently appeared on CBS’s “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert and Carly Fiorina appeared on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

Do these appearances on late-night programs help candidates look down-to-earth and approachable? It seems to depend on the candidate. When Mr. Romney appeared on “Late” leading up to the 2012 election, the Los Angeles Times called him “as wooden as ever,” though "SNL" writer Jim Downey praised Romney's appearance at the time. "He was funny," he said

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