Saturday Night Live aired its twelfth season during the 1986-1987 television season on NBC. The 12th season started on October 11, 1986, the 11th anniversary of the show's first episode, and ended on May 23, 1987. Despite plans to have Saturday Night Live canceled due to the ratings of its previous season, producer Lorne Michaels convinced Brandon Tartikoff to give the show another chance, provided that a better cast be found for the next season. As a result, many of season 11's cast members were fired, except for Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, featured player A. Whitney Brown, and Weekend Update anchor Dennis Miller. Al Franken was rehired as a writer. The rest were relative unknowns, led by Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, and Kevin Nealon. Hooks had auditioned to be in the season 10 and 11 casts, but had been turned down. Hartman helped write sketches in season 11's Thanksgiving episode hosted by Pee-wee Herman, and appeared in a sketch as a Pilgrim. The first show of the 1986-1987 season opened with Madonna, host of the previous season opener, reading a "statement" from NBC about season 11's mediocre writing and bad cast choices. According to the "statement", the entire 1985-1986 season was "...all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream."