Comedian Kenan Thompson has addressed growing rumors that the iconic sketch show Saturday Night Live may end after 50 seasons in just three years.
There has been no official confirmation from NBC that SNL will be coming to an end any time soon, but the long-time boss of the show, Lorne Michaels, has hinted that he doesn’t wish to continue as the showrunner after he turns 80 years old.
And now, 44-year-old cast member, Thompson, has waded in on his view of the situation, and sadly for Saturday Night Live fans, he thinks the show may end after 50 seasons. He also doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
The Kenan and Kel star shared his thoughts on the possible end of SNL with Charlamagne tha God on Comedy Central’s Hell of a Week. Charlamagne asked Thompson if the rumors of Michaels’ quitting and the show ending were true.
At first, Thompson feigned ignorance and joked that he needed to “start planning,” but then he admitted that there “could be a lot of validity” to the rumor.
He added that “50 is a good number to stop at. That’s an incredible package.”
Kenan Thompson says Lorne Michaels’ exit from SNL could see budget cut
The sketch artist then spoke about the importance of Michaels to SNL and claimed that the comedy veteran kept the corporate wolves at NBC away and stopped them from slashing the show’s budget.
“[Michaels] is such a legend that he keeps off those corporate wolves, if you will. 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,” explained Thompson.
Kenan Thompson said that if Michaels’s exit caused NBC to cut money from the show, “then at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show.” He further clarified, “it’s an expensive show, but it’s a one-of-a-kind thing. It’s the only one.”
Lorne Michaels hinted he could leave SNL after Season 50
According to Us Weekly, 77-year-old Michaels told Gayle King on CBS Mornings in 2021 that he would consider leaving SNL after the 50th anniversary. He stated that would be a “really good time to leave,” but the good news for fans is that he also said he would do “everything” he could to see the show continue.
Michaels has been showrunner for SNL since 1975, albeit with a break between 1980 and 1985, but since ’85, he’s been an integral part of the show.
Thompson has been with the show since 2003 and is the longest-running cast member. He spoke to Charlamange about his production company and said he had some projects, so if SNL does come to an end, he should still have plenty to do.
Saturday Night Live is currently on hiatus.