Saturday Night Live creator and showrunner Lorne Michaels has shared that he still has “no plans to retire” from his duties at the long-running NBC program despite the seismic cast shake-up this summer and the show’s impending 50th season in 2024-2025.
In an interview with The New York Times, the 77-year old prefaced the show’s 48th season by calling it “a year of reinvention” and attributed the personnel overhaul as an expected shift that was delayed by the onset of COVID-19. “The pandemic had put us in this position where no one could really leave, because there were no jobs.,” he shared. “And at the same time, if I don’t add new people every year, then the show isn’t the show. There have to be new people, for both our sake and also for the audience.”
Michaels has shepherded numerous sea changes for the sketch comedy series (a “rebirth” that he estimates has happened “five or six times” throughout the show’s history). The latest exodus was sparked by the exits of cornerstone cast members like Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson at the end of Season 47 along with the late-stage departures from Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat, and Aristotle Athari and the seriously down-to-the-wire bow by Chris Redd.
The SNL mastermind reflected on his own exit from the show, but only as a matter of unfinished business with his sights on the 50th anniversary season and beyond. “I have no plans to retire,” he declared. “I’m not a big person for celebrating. Even the 40th [anniversary show], in the end, the only way I got through it was because I knew I was doing a show, and at a certain point, the credits would roll and we’d be off the air.”
He continued about his plan for the anniversary festivities, sharing, “The 50th will be a big event. We’ll bring everyone back from all 50 years and hosts and all of that. It will be a very emotional and very strong thing. There won’t be as many plus-ones, I can tell you that much.”
He later confirmed the return of Colin Jost and Michael Che to the Weekend Update desk for Season 48, emphasizing the upcoming US midterm elections as a reason to “need that part to be as solid as it is.” That solid foundation was most recently validated at the 2022 Emmy Awards, where the show once again dominated the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category.
Season 48 of Saturday Night Live will premiere on October 1st with host Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Brendan Gleeson and Megan Thee Stallion are also set to host with music from the latter and WILLOW on the books as well.