Chris Rock will direct the new Kenan Thompson pilot for NBC, called Saving Kenan. The announcement is just one more item making Thompson’s fans wonder if he will leave Saturday Night Live after this season. Thompson holds the record of longest-tenured SNL cast member with 16 seasons to his name. He continues to express his gratitude being on SNL as reports about other cast members’ futures percolate. Rock and Thompson crossed paths when Rock hosted the sketch series in 2014.
Rock, whose stand-up special Tamborine ranked fifth on Laughspin’s Top 20 Stand-Up Specials of 2018, is no stranger to sitcoms. In addition to developing and writing Everybody Hates Chris, Rock also directed an episode of the semi-autobiographical CW series. In Saving Kenan, Thompson will play a recently widowed father raising his children while reluctantly accepting help from his father-in-law. Rock will co-executive produce Saving Kenan with Thompson.
Audiences are used to seeing Rock in front of the camera, but he made his feature film directorial debut with the 2003 comedy Head of State. He’s also directed I Think I Love My Wife and the Oscar-nominated Top Five. Rock also worked with Amy Schumer directing her Live at the Apollo HBO special. Fans of the Grown Ups star can still see him on-camera in Season Four of FX’s Fargo series and the upcoming drama film Molly.
Is Kenan Thompson leaving SNL?
Thompson has a full plate that has everyone wondering one question: Is Kenan Thompson leaving SNL? In addition to a potential series at NBC, the Fat Albert star will serve as a judge on a new stand-up competition show Bring The Funny, hosted by Amanda Seales. On Valentine’s Day, Nickelodeon announced an All That revival with Thompson as executive producer. The former childhood cast member plans to be fairly hands-on with the rebooted sketch show. “If I’m not at the table read, I’ll be on the phone during the table read,” he assured. “I’ll be around.”
Despite slowly taking over your TV screen, Thompson seems to be the only one who thinks he’ll return to SNL next season. On The Wendy Williams Show, the daytime talk show host pleaded with Thompson to stay with the Saturday night sketch show should Saving Kenan get picked up for series. Thompson responded, “You know I’m all about getting it all. I want every single check.”