Next Saturday, May 7th, “SNL” returns for the first of its three final episodes of the season. Benedict Cumberbatch is hosting, and musical guest is Arcade Fire. The hosts/mg’s for the last two episodes haven’t been announced yet. (UPDATE The May 14th show will feature host Selena Gomez and music guest Post Malone.)
But soon we will also hear about the exits of several long time cast members. My guess is Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong are done, so is Kyle Mooney. Also probably gone is Pete Davidson, who hasn’t been on the show in weeks and has moved on to a Lorne Michaels-produced sitcom for Peacock and life as a Kardashian appendage.
In all likelihood, Kenan Thompson will stick around as captain of the team. His “Kenan” sitcom is up in the air at NBC with low ratings. But NBC has bigger issues with “Mr. Mayor” (which has to go), “The Weakest Link,” and “Young Rock,” all of which are dead in the water. “Kenan” may yet survive another season.
McKinnon and Strong have already spread their wings this year. Kate starred in the “Tiger King” series for Peacock, Strong was off off Broadway in the Lily Tomlin revival. They are each supremely talented. But 10 years is a long time, and with the pandemic subsiding, production picking up, both women could do well with streaming series, Strong also has the return of “Schmigadoon” coming as “Schmicago,” as I reported here.
As for Mooney, I’d love to see him and Beck Bennett join up and do something clever and unexpected. Cross fingers.
“SNL” has a strong bench now, and can proceed with Colin Jost and Michael Che, Ego Nwodim, Mikey Day and Alex Moffat, plus Melissa Villasenor, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang, James Austin Johnson, Andrew Dismukes, Chloe Fineman, and so on.