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Kenan Thompson Says Ending “Saturday Night Live” at 50 “MAY NOT BE a negative Idea”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Kenan Thompson hosts Apollo Theater Spring Benefit at The Apollo Theater on June 13, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Shahar Azran/Getty Images)

Kenan Thompson is “Saturday Night Live””s longest-running cast member, having joined the show in 2003. But nearly 20 years after joining the cast, he’s thinking about leaving and he also thinks it may be time for the show to get rid of through the 2024-25 season.

In a July 29 interview with Charlamagne tha God on Comedy Central’s “Hell of weekly,” Thompson discussed the show’s potential end. “Fifty is an excellent number to avoid at,” he said. “That’s an unbelievable package.”

Back December 2021, showrunner Lorne Michaels discussed leaving once the show turns 50. “Well, I believe I’m focused on doing the show until its 50th anniversary, that is 3 years from now,” Michaels told CBS Morning. “And Personally i think like that will be a really good time and energy to leave.”

Thompson addressed the theory that Michaels might exit the show in the interview, expressing his fears in what might happen if or once the show’s creator departs. “He’ll be, probably, near 80 yrs . old at that time, and, you understand, he’s the main one who’s had his touch overall thing,” he said. “So, if somebody tries ahead into his shoes, you understand, it is a good chance for NBC to save lots of money aswell, guess what happens I’m saying? [NBC] might slash the budget, and at that time, you can’t do the same sort of show. So that’s unfair to view it just really decrease sort of in flames for real due to those restrictions . . . Capping it at 50 is probably not a negative idea.”

By that logic, “Saturday Night Live” could have three seasons left. The show’s 48th season returns in nov 2022, though its cast can look a little different Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant all departed following the 47th season. Thompson, needless to say, remains for the present time.

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