Kenan Thompson Says ‘Saturday Night Live’ Should End After Lorne Michaels Exits
As Saturday Night Live approaches its 48th season, many have been wondering how long NBC will decide to keep the show going, especially as its creator and showrunner Lorne Michaels , 77, continues to age past retirement.
Cast member Kenan Thompson , speaking on Charlamagne tha God’s “Hell of a Week” podcast, said that it may very well be a good time to end SNL when it hits its 50th anniversary in the 2024-2025 season. Speculation that Michaels might bow out from producing the show at this milestone prompted the discussion.
“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?” Charlamagne asked Thompson.
“Is that the rumor?” Thompson replied. “All right, I need to start planning.”
Michaels has been the SNL showrunner since its inception, aside from a five-year period in the mid-1980s.
“There could be a lot of validity to that rumor, because 50 is a good number to stop at,” Thompson said. “That’s an incredible package. He will be, probably, close to 80 years old at that point, and, you know, he’s the one who’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? [NBC] might slash the budget and then at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show. So that’s unfair to watch it just really go down kind of in flames for real because of those restrictions … Capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea,” he said.
“[Michaels] is such a legend that he keeps off those corporate wolves, if you will,” Thompson added. “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.”
While Michaels has said that he’s considering ending his time as showrunner in 2025, he gave no indication that NBC would retire the show altogether.
“You know, I think I’m committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years,” said Michaels in December 2021. “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.”