Ahead of the landmark 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live this fall, Deadline recently spoke with Lorne Michaels about the past season on the show as well as whether or not there will be cast changes before the start of season 40. Here are some of Michaels’s thoughts on the latest SNL season:
We lost four leading men at the end of last season, Fred and Bill and Andy and Jason, all of whom were very seasoned, very strong cast. We lost Kristen the year before. All have been here a long time, and you get used to how good people are. Losing the fifth leading man in Seth (in early February) was a hard thing, in the middle of a season, because there’s only one other time in the 39 years that we ever changed Update in the middle of a season, and that was Norm Macdonald to Colin Quinn. And that was more because a whole other set of reasons, but I think that that made it a much harder thing, in addition to having to focus on launching Jimmy and launching Seth. But SNL, we put a lot of pressure, a lot of new people. It was a hard season.
When asked whether or not he is considering changes to the cast before next season, Michaels was pretty blunt: “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re still in the middle of rebuilding. So, there will be changes this year.” And when asked if he ever plans to “scale back” his work on SNL, he said:
No. SNL takes every inch and every ounce of my talent, for whatever that’s worth. My job was to make sure that Jimmy got launched. I’ll always be there for him, but it’s his show, just as it’s Seth’s show. And if Maya [Rudolph]’s show (takes off) I will be there until it’s strong enough, but then, I’m always going to come back to SNL.
The interview also includes Michaels’s take on this past SNL season’s diversity issues, working as producer on his other shows Late Night and The Tonight Show, the advice he gives to late night hosts, and some of his favorite moments in SNL history.