The premiere of the 34th season of Saturday Night Live is just a few weeks away, and now it’s time to gaze into our crystal ball as BuddyTV tries to predict who will host the opener on September 13. Saturday Night Live always tries to come out strong, capitalizing on a star who had a big summer. Below you will find out top five choices, divided into five primary categories.

There are some obvious choices when you think about the summer. The Olympics were huge, several movies did very well at the box office, and the musical world was dominated by a bunch of teenagers. Saturday Night Live often strives to be current and hip, so if they want to make a huge splash, there are only a handful of names worth getting.

The Athlete – Michael Phelps
This one is almost too obvious, but NBC would be foolish not to book him ASAP. The eight-time gold medal winner at the Beijing Olympics, Phelps almost single-handedly revitalized NBC, bringing in record-setting numbers as the marquee star of the games. He probably won’t be that big for that long because Americans are likely to forget about the Olympics by October for the next four years, but for the September 13 premiere, Phelps will still be one of the most popular stars in the world.

The Box Office Star – Robert Downey Jr.
There are quite a few viable contenders for this position. With the success of The Dark Knight, Christian Bale could be in the running, but he doesn’t seem particularly funny. Tropic Thunder, on the other hand, stars three very funny guys, any of whom could host SNL. But only one of them also starred in a hit movie at the beginning of the summer, so the combo of Tropic Thunder and Iron Man sets Downey Jr. apart. It would also be a bit of a homecoming, as he was actually a cast member of SNL back in the ’80s and hosted once in 1996, so it would not be unfamiliar territory.

NBC Cross Promotion – Christian Slater
Using SNL as a way to promote other NBC shows is always a good idea, and though this year’s slate of new shows doesn’t include a lot of big name stars, My Own Worst Enemy lead Christian Slater certainly fits the bill. He might not be as big as the others, and since his show doesn’t premiere until October they might hold him off until the third or fourth episode of the season, but Slater would be a good host, and like Downey Jr., he also hosted once back in the ’90s.

The Young Star – Miley Cyrus
11:30pm on a Saturday might not be the best time slot for a tween sensation like Miley Cyrus, but if the goal is simply to build buzz, Miley is one of the biggest names in the world and booking her would certainly get plenty of new viewers to see how they’d mock the Vanity Fair photo shoot. If SNL wanted to go all the way with the tween demographic, booking the Jonas Brothers as musical guests for this episode would make this show unstoppable.

The Veteran – Adam Sandler
Technically, Sandler isn’t a veteran of hosting, just the show itself. If they want a veteran host, go with Steve Martin, John Goodman, Alec Baldwin or Christopher Walken. And while any of them would be hilarious, Adam Sandler is probably the most famous former cast member never to return as host. Imagine getting to see Opera Man during Weekend Update, or having Sandler mope about his ex-girlfriend Denise (with special guest star Shannen Doherty, promoting the new 90210). There may not be any pressing reason to have him host (unless he’s there to promote the release of You Don’t Mess with Zohan on DVD), but the return of Adam Sandler to Saturday Night Live would be something everyone who watched in the ’90s would want to see.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.