Heading into the 48th season of Lorne Michaels & NBC's Saturday Night Live, the late-night sketch comedy/music series has undergone serious changes over the past few months. We've seen Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, Aristotle Athari, and Chris Redd departing SNL, while new featured players Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker were announced. Then, we learned that SNL would be back on October 1, with host Miles Teller & musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Following that, October 8th brings Brendan Gleeson as host and musical guest Willow; October 15th finds Megan Thee Stallion doing double duty as host & musical guest. Speaking with The New York Times, Michaels addressed the casting changes, labeling the upcoming season as "a year of reinvention" that could lead to some "exhilarating" change. He also had some reassuring words for "Weekend Update" fans and teased what's in store for SNL's big 50th-anniversary celebration. Here are some of the highlights:
COVID-19 Fallout Resulted in Much Larger SNL Cast Than Usual: "The pandemic had put us in this position where no one could really leave because there were no jobs. 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 Believes Cast Departures are Good Things for SNL: "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 by that level of renewal. The price of success is that people go off and do other things; their primary obligation is to their talent and to 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 it, but the natural time just got interfered with by the pandemic."
… Except with Colin Jost, Michael Che & "Weekend Update": "Particularly, coming into a midterm election, I just need that part ['Weekend Update' with Che & Jost] to be as solid as it is."
SNL's 50th Anniversary/Season? Think Big: "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."