- SNL will return for season 49.
- Saturday Night Live season 49 does not have a premiere date.
- The cast for SNL season 49 hasn’t been announced.
Saturday nights just aren’t Saturday nights without, well, Saturday Night Live. The sketch comedy series has become a cultural touchstone since its premiere in 1975. Creator Lorne Michaels has helmed SNL for nearly all of its historic run, and the show is now inching closer to a milestone season 50.
However, there’s still another season to go. Since SNL season 48 was cut short, everyone’s been wondering about the status of Saturday Night Live season 49. SNL is always at its strongest during an election year, and season 49 will undoubtedly embrace the 2024 presidential election cycle with epic and hilarious commentary. From what we know about a possible premiere date to what Lorne has said about retiring, here’s a full rundown of all the latest updates about season 49.
Is SNL Season 49 Happening?
Saturday Night Live season 49 hasn’t been officially announced by NBC, but it’s pretty much a sure thing. The iconic series is a staple for the network, and the show is so close to celebrating 50 years on the air.
SNL season 48 was cut short due to the writers’ strike in May 2023. The final episodes were supposed to be hosted by Kieran Culkin, Jennifer Coolidge, and SNL alum Pete Davidson, but the remainder of the season had to be canceled.
Saturday Night Live Season 49 Premiere Date
Saturday Night Live season 49 does not have a set premiere date yet. The writers’ and SAG-AFTRA strikes are still ongoing, which has prevented any movement about the 49th season.
NBC has already revealed its fall lineup for 2023, and Saturday Night Live isn’t on it. It’s possible that SNL could premiere later in the fall if and when the strikes end. The show’s Saturday night timeslot is usually reserved for reruns when the show isn’t airing live. However, season 49 could be pushed to midseason and air in 2024.
Who Is Returning For Saturday Night Live Season 49?
The cast list for SNL season 49 hasn’t been officially revealed. Over the past few seasons, Saturday Night Live has seen newbies arrive at Studio 8H and beloved veterans depart. SNL boss Lorne Michaels dubbed season 48 a “transition year” after the exits of Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor, and Aristotle Athari.
At the end of season 48, the cast included Mikey Day, Andrew Dismukes, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Punkie Johnson, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson, and Bowen Yang. Featured players for season 48 were Marcello Hernandez, James Austin Johnson, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, Sarah Sherman, and Devon Walker.
Following the departure of SNL vet Cecily Strong during season 48, there’s now an open spot for a new repertory cast member. One of the featured players could be bumped up in season 49. The show could also add new featured players in the upcoming season, especially if any of the season 48 featured players decide to leave. As of now, it’s highly likely Colin and Michael will return to the “Weekend Update” desk.
Comedy group Please Don’t Destroy, consisting of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy, joined the show in season 47 to produce digital shorts. They’ve had viral hits like “Three Sad Virgins” with Taylor Swift and “Road Trip” with Jenna Ortega. The trio’s debut film, The Treasure of Foggy Mountain, will debut on Peacock in 2023. No word yet about whether or not they’ll return for season 49.
Is Saturday Night Live Ending After Season 50?
Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels has been candid about possibly retiring after season 50. “I think I’m committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years. I’d like to see that through and I have a feeling that’d be a good time to leave,” he said on CBS Mornings in 2021.
He added, “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 gonna do everything I can to see it carry on and carry on well.” When Gayle King asked if there can even be a Saturday Night Live without him, he responded, “Yeah, of course.” She also quizzed him about who could possibly take over for him. “I have a sense of where we’re headed with that,” he said.
However, Lorne told The New York Times in 2022 that he had “no plans to retire.” He was still looking ahead to celebrating 50 years of SNL. “The 50th will be a big event. We’ll bring everyone back from all 50 years and hosts and all of that. It will be a very emotional and very strong thing. There won’t be as many plus-ones, I can tell you that much,” he said.
In July 2023, The New York Post reported that SNL vet Tina Fey was “being courted” to take over as executive producer of SNL when Lorne decides to leave. Lorne and Tina have yet to respond to the report. A spokesperson for NBC told ET Canada that there was “no truth” to the claim about Tina taking over. Tina was a head writer and cast member of SNL from 1997 to 2006.
Kenan Thompson is the show’s longest-running cast member. He joined the show in 2003 and has become the leader among the cast members. When asked about ending SNL at season 50, Kenan told Charlamagne tha God, “There could be a lot of validity to that rumor because 50 is a good number to stop at. That’s an incredible package.”
The comedian also hinted that he was unsure the show could survive without Lorne. “He’s the one that’s had his touch on the whole thing,” Kenan continued. “It opens the opportunity for a lot of bulls**t to come into the game because he’s such a legend that he keeps off those corporate wolves.”