Saturday Night Live aired its seventh season during the 1981–1982 television season on NBC. The seventh season started on October 3, 1981 and ended on May 22, 1982. A total of 20 episodes were broadcast. Following the dismissal of producer Jean Doumanian and most of her cast members, the show was shut down due to the commencement of the 1981 WGA strike. Dick Ebersol, the program's developer, was hired as Doumanian's replacement. The new cast of Saturday Night Live for this season were the same ones from the episode Ebersol produced on the April 11, 1981 episode: Robin Duke, Tim Kazurinsky and Tony Rosato along with the Doumanian era's sole survivors Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Denny Dillon and Gail Matthius were fired following the April 1981 episode while Laurie Metcalf and unseen castmember Emily Prager weren't asked back to be cast members on the show. Ebersol then hired two new cast members: Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole. Both were hired to fill the gap left by Metcalf and Prager. Wanting to distance the show from its first five seasons, Ebersol cut the popular opening line Live from New York, It's Saturday Night! from the cold openings. In fact, sometimes cold openings weren't even shown and the monologues were skipped over almost entirely. These changes were not permanent, as Ebersol decided to reverse them for the eighth season.