Beck bennett, the versatile “Saturday night liveThe player who has gained attention for his impressions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Vice President Mike Pence for eight seasons on the show will leave the venerable NBC late-night series even as it welcomes several high-level cast members who hinted that they might be ready to go.
Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Colin Jost, Michael Che and Kenan Thompson will return for the show’s 47th season, along with Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd and Melissa Villasenor. . Two standout players from last season, Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, have been promoted to regular cast members, while another, Lauren Holt, will not be returning to the show. Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson will return in their breakout roles. And the show will welcome three new outstanding players: Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman.
In decades past, “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels insisted that cast members make the show their main focus. But last year the rules started to change, and will continue to do so this year. Some veteran cast members are likely to appear less often than usual, according to a person familiar with the show, and will have some leeway to pursue projects outside of the show. The large cast should give “SNL” a chance to fill in the absences with contributions from some of the show’s staff.
“Thank you for 8 years of extraordinary people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life,” Bennett posted via Instagram. “I had a lot of Fun.”
“SNL” showed some of its new elasticity last season, when both Strong and Bryant were able to commit to outside projects like Apple’s “Schmigadoon” and Hulu’s “Shrill” and missed several episodes of “SNL.” Michaels has also worked to find ways for Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd to appear on the NBC sitcom “Kenan” without missing much of “Saturday Night Live.” It helps that all of these series are produced under the auspices of Michaels’ own Broadway Video.
But the show also sparked swirls of speculation about the status of its cast during last season’s finale. McKinnon, Bryant, Thompson and Strong appeared in a segment in which they discussed the challenges of producing the show during the pandemic and the 2020 elections, and some of their on-camera emotions prompted speculation that they may have been hinting at a farewell. Davidson followed suit with a “weekend segment” that nodded at how being on the show had helped him mature. Strong added to the sensation with a spectacular twist when Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro sang “My Way” on a giant wine box.
As more viewers migrate to streaming services to watch their favorite scripted dramas and comedies on demand, “SNL” has taken on a new importance for NBC. Once relegated to airing after the latest local news at a time that network executives did not consider paramount, the show now airs live across the U.S. All at once, meaning it runs in primetime. in certain parts of the country. The 2020-2021 season show was the most-watched entertainment show on television among viewers ages 18-49, the demographic preferred by advertisers.
The value of “SNL” has increased steadily in recent years. A 30-second ad on “SNL” this season and the last one cost about $ 180,000, according to the Standard Media Index, an ad spend tracker. The average cost of a 30-second hanger in the show’s 2015-2016 season amounted to about $ 89,500. NBC generated approximately $ 123 million in advertising revenue from the show in 2020, according to ad tracker Kantar, compared to $ 114.7 million in 2019. Major sponsors in recent years have included Apple, AbbVie, Progressive, T-Mobile and Discover.
The three prominent new players come from a wide range of projects. Sherman has been known for his eyebrow-raising live shows wearing costumes and special effects. Johnson has built a reputation for printing. And Athari was once part of the sketch comedy group “Goatface.”