Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels told the New York Times on Friday the large cast member turnover, which saw eight of the show’s comedians leaving ahead of the upcoming season starting in October, was the result of the pandemic, and said Season 48 will be “a year of reinvention.”
Michaels said the pandemic created a situation “where no one could really leave, because there were no jobs,” but then the large cast “got to a point where we had a lot of people, and people weren’t getting enough playing time.”
Michaels denied the perception that the show is tougher on Republican politicians than it is on Democratic ones, and said the last four years on SNL reflected a period “between the pandemic and the presidency” where “people were truly frightened.”
While four new featured players have been added to the cast, some mainstays will remain, including Colin Jost and Michael Che as the hosts of the segment “Weekend Update,” Michaels said.
Michaels, 77, said he has “no plans to retire,” and that the show will have a big celebration when it reaches its 50th season.
“There’s a time to say goodbye and there’s a natural time for it, but the natural time just got interfered with by the pandemic,” Michaels said.
Stars Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney departed SNL after the end of Season 47 in the spring. Earlier this month, it was announced three other cast members, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athiras were also leaving. And it was reported Monday that Chris Redd will not return. The turnover is the largest since 1995, when almost the entire cast was new, according to the Times. That year legends Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri and Darrell Hammond debuted. Four new featured players were announced last week: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.
SNL premieres October 1, with Miles Teller hosting and Kendrick Lamar serving as the musical guest. The October 8 show will be hosted by Brendon Gleeson, with musical guest Willow. Megan Thee Stallion will perform double-duty on October 15.
Three More ‘SNL’ Cast Members Departing Show Ahead Of Season 48 After Loss Of Stars (Forbes)
‘SNL’ Adds Four New Featured Players Members After Cast Exodus (Forbes)