Live from New York, it’s the limbo phase for Saturday Night Live cast members who are still working out deals for the upcoming season. SNL usually renews contracts or adds new players during the late summer, just before a new season premieres in fall. Season 47 will air its first episode on October 2. We’re in the home stretch now.
The season 46 finale, hosted by Anya Taylor-Joy, left things up in the air for four major, recently Emmy-nominated cast members: Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant. They took center stage during an emotional cold open and talked about what SNL has meant to them, especially during the last year. They could very well go the route of former SNL stars like Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jason Sudeikis to focus on work beyond Studio 8H. (Strong’s turn as Jeanine Pirro during the finale’s “Weekend Update” segment could easily double as goodbye.)
Bryant, McKinnon, Strong, and Thompson have all branched out beyond SNL into individual starring roles. Thompson, who’s had the longest run on the sketch comedy, now leads his own sitcom, Kenan, for which he recently earned an Emmy nomination (along with his Supporting Actor nomination for SNL). McKinnon is set to portray Carole Baskin in Peacock’s true crime series Joe Exotic, and will film in Australia for three months for it. Strong and Bryant were absent for multiple episodes of season 46 to film Schmigadoon! and Shrill season three, respectively. Pete Davidson, who fueled exit rumors last month, has also slowly made a name for himself outside SNL. Last year, he co-wrote and starred in The King Of Staten Island. He will next appear in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, the thriller Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, and a rom-com called Meet Cute opposite Kaley Cuoco.
A recent Variety article revealed that SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels was convincing veteran cast members to stay not just for one more season, but for a few more, at least until the landmark season 50.This includes granting flexibility so they can pursue projects outside of the sketch series. If these longtime favorites do leave SNL before season 47, they’d pass the baton to featured players like Emmy nominee Bowen Yang, Ego Nwodim, and Chloe Fineman. Of course, there are also dependable repertory players like Chris Redd, Beck Bennett, Mikey Day, and Alex Moffat. They haven’t addressed their futures on or beyond SNL as much. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but any of them could follow in the footsteps of Leslie Jones, who left in 2019 after five seasons.
While we wait for more information, we’ll be keeping you updated on who will be back to walk the hallowed halls of 30 Rock for season 47.
This slideshow will be updated periodically.