Longtime cast member hints at why iconic SNL show might be wrapping it up for good after 50th season

Longtime “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson hinted in a recent interview that the legendary comedy sketch show might be coming to an end with the conclusion of its upcoming 50th season.

Appearing with Charlamagne tha God on his show “Hell Of A Week,” Thompson talked about the highlights of his career as well as some of his upcoming projects—and that’s where he discussed the possibility of SNL wrapping things up for good when the host asked him about the impending retirement of the show’s co-creator and long-running producer Lorne Michaels.

“Let’s talk a little bit more about SNL,” the host said in his interview with Thompson. “I know they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary in three seasons. And the rumor is the show is ending at its 50th season because Mr. Lorne Michaels doesn’t want to do it after age 80. Is that true?”

“Is that the rumor?” Thompson replied. “All right. Well, I need to start planning.”

“No, I’m just kidding,” he continued, laughing. “Um, I mean it, there could be a lot of validity to that rumor because 50 is a good number to stop at. You know what I’m saying? It’s an incredible package.

“You know, [Lorne Michaels] is the one that’s had his touch on the whole thing. So if somebody tries to come into his shoes—you know, it’s a good opportunity for NBC to save money as well. You know what I’m saying? So maybe they might slash the budget and then at that point you can’t really do the same kind of show.”

Lorne Michaels has helmed the long-running comedy show since its inception as “NBC’s Saturday Night” in 1975; during that span, he’s won 20 Primetime Emmy Awards and holds the record for being the award show’s most-nominated individual, with 94 nominations. But Michaels has also suggested he’ll be stepping down in three years when he turns 80, and his celebrated show reaches the half-century mark.

“So you’re saying the show could not go on without Lorne Michaels, is what you’re saying?” Charlamagne tha God pressed Thompson.

“I’m not saying that,” Thompson responded. “I’m just saying it opens opportunity for a lot of bullsh-t to come into the game because he’s such a legend that he keeps off those like corporate wolves if you will—not to call them wolves, but it’s business, you know what I’m saying? They spend a lot of money on that show every week. It’s an expensive show, but it’s a one-of-a-kind thing. It’s the only one, you know what I mean? And you know, ‘Live from New York,’ you know what I’m saying?”

Last year, “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 47th season with a massive ratings drop from the previous year, and ratings have steadily lowered since. So it might not be such a bad thing for the show to wrap things up and end on a (relatively) high note.


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