Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels says he might exit from the NBC series after its 50th anniversary season in 2024: ‘I have a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave’
- Lorne Michaels said he’s ‘committed’ to doing Saturday Night Live until 50th anniversary – which is in three years time
- But 77-year-old then said he has ‘a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave’
- The screenwriter has been with the comedy show since its inception in 1975
- He has worked with comedy legends John Belushi and Chevy Chase, and launched the careers of Bill Murray and Tina Fey
- He made the comments while speaking with Gayle King on CBS Morning
- It comes days after hit NBC show was forced to close doors on its audience and over fears about Omicron Covid variant
Lorne Michaels has said he might be ready to step down from Saturday Night Live after nearly five decades producing the show.
The 77-year-old, who created comedy hit SNL back in 1975, hinted at a departure date after the show’s 50th anniversary season in 2024.
‘My plan is to be here for the 50th … and then by that point, I really deserve to wander off,’ he told Gayle King on CBS Mornings.
He added: ‘I’d like to see that through, and I have a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave.
‘But … I won’t want the show ever to be bad. I care too deeply about it. It’s been my life’s work. So I’m going to do everything I can to see it carry on and carry on well.’
The Canadian-born TV producer has long been the major driving force for the show behind the scenes, and has worked with comedy legends including John Belushi and Chevy Chase, and launched the careers of Bill Murray and Tina Fey.
He produced the show until leaving in 1980 and came back onboard from 1985 until present day.
The latest: Lorne Michaels, 77, said he might be ready to step down from Saturday Night Live after the show’s 50th anniversary season in 2024. He was snapped at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. earlier this month
The SNL creator, speaking with Gayle King on CBS Mornings , said he’s ‘committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years’
Michaels said that the show could ‘of course’ continue without him, and that he has ‘a sense of where we’re headed with that.’
When asked who could be his successor as the show’s executive producer, Michaels said, ‘I’m not going to go on about it – it’s three years away.’
Michaels has received 20 Primetime Emmy Awards from 94 nominations, and holds the record for being the most nominated individual in the award show’s history.
When he was honored earlier this month by the Kennedy Center, Michael said he was emotional in ‘just seeing all the generations of the show’ congregate for the series’ 40th anniversary in 2015.
‘You can’t put anyone in the cast that you don’t have complete faith in,’ Michaels said. ‘You may not know how it’ll turn out, but you want that decision to have been pure of heart.’
Michaels co-created the NBC comedy staple in 1975
When asked who could be his successor as the show’s executive producer, Michaels said, ‘I’m not going to go on about it – it’s three years away’
Last year, Michaels set a similar timeline when outlining a potential retirement plan in speaking to NBC.
‘My plan – and I’m not sure that I’ll see it through – but my plan is to be here for the 50th … and then by that point, I really deserve to wander off,’ the Emmy-winning producer told the show.
Michaels is also the executive producer of NBC late night franchises The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
The chat with the TV icon aired after SNL this week was broadcast with a ramped-down staff and no studio audience amid a spike in COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the omicron variant in New York City.
Michaels is also the executive producer of NBC late night franchises The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers
News of Michael’s possible departure comes as the hit NBC show was forced to close its doors to its audience and its musical guest over fears about the Omicron Covid variant.
Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, and Kenan Thompson joined Paul Rudd on set in front of an empty studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for a quickly reassembled performance after several staffers were infected with COVID-19.
Rudd was scheduled to host the show alongside musical guest Charli XCX, but the British singer-songwriter bowed out of the show after a minimal staff was permitted to be on set.
Instead of a traditional cold open before a live studio audience, Hanks and Fey appeared before the cameras and introduced Rudd.
During the taping of Saturday’s installment of SNL, Thompson emerged to hand Rudd a robe reserved for those who have hosted the show five times.
Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, and Kenan Thompson joined Paul Rudd on set in front of an empty studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for a quickly reassembled performance after several staffers were infected with COVID-19
‘Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the show will have limited cast and crew,’ a statement read
Pre-taped segments for the show included cameos from longtime Saturday Night Live staples Steve Martin (left) and Martin Short (right)
SNL then aired a tape of Steve Martin and Martin Short congratulating Hanks, even though the man of the hour was Rudd.
During their on-stage banter, Hanks quipped that Rudd deserved credit for being named People’s ‘sexist man alive.’
The show then re-aired classic sketches including the ‘D*** in a box’ music video starring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake as well as bits featuring SNL alums Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, and Jan Hooks.
Fey and current cast member Michael Che co-anchored a bare-bones version of Weekend Update. Instead of the anchors being behind their desk with a television studio-like backdrop, Che and Fey read jokes from two chairs as Hanks, Rudd, and Thompson sat in the studio audience.
Fey was replacing Colin Jost, who was not in the studio at the time of taping.
Fey, who once held Jost’s role as head writer of the popular sketch comedy series, co-anchored Weekend Update alongside Amy Poehler from 2004 until 2006.
She also shared the anchor role with then-SNL star Jimmy Fallon, who is currently host of the Tonight Show.
SNL is just the latest New York City institution that has experienced disruptions caused by positive COVID-19 cases among staffers. The Radio City Rockettes and several Broadway productions were forced to shut down after infections were reported among staffers.
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