The program is scheduled to air Feb. 15.
Past and present cast members, as well as guest hosts and musical acts from the show's entire run, will appear on the telecast, with the specific lineup of guests to be determined in the coming months, the network said Friday.
"Saturday Night Live is an institution unlike anything else in television history," Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement.
"The many brilliant 'Not Ready for Primetime Players' over the years is a who's who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers -- to name only a few. This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild of Lorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today. This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate SNL’s historic 40th season next year."