Kenan Thompson will not leave Saturday Night Live at the end of its 40th season, a spokesperson for the show said. An earlier TMZ report claimed that Thompson, who holds the most seniority on the current cast, plans to leave the show after the upcoming season and that he planned to leave after last season, but stayed at the request of producer Lorne Michaels. Saturday Night Live has experienced a lot of turnover during the past few years, losing veteran cast members like Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis as the show attempts to find new players that can stick.
Multiple comedians from last year’s season were not invited back this year, including Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser and Noël Wells. There were few new hires for the 2014-15 cast, adding only stand-up comedian Pete Davidson, who was brought on after Bill Hader worked with him on the set of Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, to the regular cast. Former writer Michael Che, also a stand-up, was selected to become the show’s “Weekend Update” co-host, along with head writer Colin Jost.
This will be Thompson’s 12th season on SNL, having joined the cast in 2003. The TMZ report claims that Thompson is in talks for a new TV show and that he would move to Los Angeles next year with his wife and newborn child. The rep for SNL says the report is “inaccurate as the season hasn’t even started and cast decisions aren’t made until the end of the season.” Thompson’s reps have not made a statement about the comedian’s plans, regardless of what the show’s plans for him are. When asked about his exit strategy in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2013, the former All That star claimed, “I’m never leaving.”
Check out Kenan Thompson below doing one of his most popular impressions, Steve Harvey.