Saturday Night Live Without its guiding light, producer Lorne Michaels might be out of the question for some. But something might be brewing.
Speaking on Charlemagne Tha Goode’s “Hell of a Week” podcast, Kenan Thompson said that when SNL marks its 50th anniversary in the 2024-2025 season, it might be time to put it to bed. Michaels is 77 years old, and there has been speculation – some from Michaels – that he’s considering dropping out when SNL hits the main stage.
“The rumor is that the show will end in its 50th season because Mr. Lorne Michaels doesn’t want to do that after the age of 80. Is that true?” Charlemagne Thompson asked.
“Is this a rumor?” Thompson replied. “Okay, I need to start planning.”
Michaels has been the SNL show maker throughout his career, with the exception of a five-year stint in the mid-1980s.
“There could be a lot of truth to this rumor, because 50 is a good number to stop at,” Thompson said. “That’s an incredible package. He would, probably, be close to 80 at that point and, you know, be the one who had his touch on everything.
“So if someone tries to come in their shoes, you know, that’s a good opportunity for NBC to save money as well, you know what I’m saying? [NBC] You might cut the budget and then at this point you can’t really make the same kind of offers. So it’s unfair to watch it kind of burn for real because of those restrictions… Putting it at 50 might not be a bad idea,” he said.
“[Michaels] It’s such a myth that it prevents those companies from being wolves, if you will. Thompson added. They spend a lot of money on this show every week. It’s an expensive proposition, but something unique.”
Michaels himself has indicated that he is considering ending his career in 2025.
“I think I am committed to presenting this show until its fiftieth anniversary, which is three years later,” the Canadian-born artist said in December 2021. I feel like this is a really good time to leave. But… I wouldn’t want the show to be bad at all. I really care about him. It was my life’s work. So I’m going to do everything I can to see that it lasts.”