Lorne Michaels sees recent massive departure of Saturday Night Live cast members as a byproduct of the pandemic and promises the late Emmy-winning variety shows Weekend update segment will remain the same through the midterms with lead writer Colin Jost and Michael Che at the helm.
Ahead of the season 48 premiere, eight cast members have left the series, including comedy heavyweights Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant. Those departures raised questions about the upcoming season for the long-running sketch show that is nearly celebrating its 50th season.
But the SNL boss recently told The New York Times that the increased “turnover” doesn’t affect the number of talents and that it is in fact a result of the pandemic providing employment opportunities for some of the more senior cast members who would otherwise have already left.
“The pandemic had put us in a position where no one could really leave because there were no jobs,” Michaels said. “And at the same time, if I don’t add new people every year, then the show isn’t the show. New people have to come, both for us and for the public.”
He went on to explain that the regular departures of cast members are part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem of talent on the show and that there is something “much better” about the show when players are just focused on it instead of juggling. SNL with other projects.
“We got to a point where we had a lot of people and people weren’t getting enough playing time. The way the series has survived is through that level of innovation,” he explained. “The price of success is people get out and do other things; their primary obligation is to have their talent and keep pushing that. “And there’s something so much better about the show when all that matters is the show. There’s a time to say goodbye, and there’s a natural time for that, but the natural time has just been disrupted by the pandemic.”
Michaels looks positively at the change, noting that this upcoming season will be “a year of reinvention. And change is exciting.” Despite all those possible changes, Michaels promised that lead writers Jost and Che aren’t going anywhere. Weekend updatefor now, is intact.
“Especially if I’m running in a by-election, that part just has to be as solid as it is,” he told the paper. Time.
Elsewhere in the interview, SNL Helmer dismissed the lingering rumors that he plans to retire, but noted that when the show reaches its 50th anniversary season, he plans to go big.
“The 50th will be a big event. We bring everyone back from all 50 years and hosts and all that. It will be a very emotional and very strong case,” he promised. “There won’t be that many pluses, I can tell you that.”
It’s a different approach to and feel about the milestone than he had for the show’s 40th season. “I’m not a big person to celebrate,” he said. “Even the 40th [anniversary show]”In the end, the only way I got through was because I knew I was doing a show, and at some point the credits would start rolling and we’d be off the air.”