Season 46’s finale of Saturday Night Live in May hinted at a bleak possibility for fans of the sketch comedy series: the possible departure of longtime cast members Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson. The stars delivered reflective monologues about the past year, seemingly teasing that the end is nigh. Despite the emotional tone, though, a source has told HollywoodLife exclusively that SNL creator Lorne Michaels wants the entire cast to return for “at least” another year.
“COVID has been tough for many, but has been very tough for SNL,” a source told HL. “The usual auditions and seeing people in comedy clubs for Lorne to [determine] if anyone would be good for the show has had some interesting stumbling blocks, so as next season returns, Lorne has told all the cast from last year that he would like for them all to return.” Our source said, “He has started to offer the contracts.”
The insider added that both Lorne and NBC are hopeful that “everyone will return for at least one more year,” including Cecily, Kenan, Pete, and “the whole gang.” If it were up to Lorne, the source added, “things would stay the same.” Of course, that won’t always remain plausible, “because when people want to leave, they will leave.”
“Close confidants of Lorne have told him though that change is good for the show if people don’t come back,” our source continued. “It gives the opportunity to find someone better and have better success with the talent that will remain on the show. The next few weeks should really flesh everything out.”
Cecily, Kate, and Aidy joined the long-running series in 2012 for Season 38. Kenan, the longest-tenured cast member, joined in 2003 for Season 29, while Pete joined in 2014 for Season 40. While all have teased that their future on the series is up in the air, Kenan, for his part, assured Entertainment Weekly last month that he had no desire to leave. “I keep saying I’m trying to get to 20 [seasons],” he told the outlet. “Why should I ever have to leave?”