Saturday Night Live aired its thirteenth season during the 1987–1988 television season on NBC. Season 13 started on October 17, 1987 and ended on February 27, 1988. Before the start of the season few changes happened. Kevin Nealon was promoted to repertory status and Al Franken returned to the cast. Although the changes to the cast were minimal there were, however, major events that impeded the show's production. During production of the season premiere, a fire broke out near Studio 8H during dress rehearsal. Despite plans to cancel the show for the week, Steve Martin pushed the cast to perform, making the Steve Martin/Sting episode the only episode without a dress rehearsal. On March 7, 1988, the Writers Guild of America went on strike, cancelling many planned episodes, including one originally planned to be hosted by former "Not Ready for Primetime" player Gilda Radner. Radner, however, would never get the chance to host due to her death from ovarian cancer the following year. The host for the March 12, 1988 broadcast was never confirmed.