Saturday Night Live is known for its frequent cast changes, but it has been several years since the last major shake-up. That could change once Season 44 ends in May though.
One of the most likely candidates to make an exit is Kate McKinnon, who is still under her original seven-year contract, reports Deadline. Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong, who both joined in 2012 with McKinnon, renegotiated their contracts, so they both have at least one more year.
Since joining SNL, McKinnon has become this generation's stand-out performer. She has won two Emmys for her performances on the show, and has shown an incredible versatility when it comes to celebrity impressions. Deadline reports she has been considering her future on the show since "at least January."
While many SNL stars typically leave the show to start movie careers, McKinnon managed to launch hers while still on the show. She played opposite Mila Kunis in The Spy Who Dumped Me and was in the 2016 Ghostbusters will fellow SNL star Leslie Jones and former SNL player Kristen Wiig. McKinnon also agreed to star in and executive produce Hulu's The Dropout, a miniseries about Theranos co-founder Elizabeth Holmes.
The other "most likely to leave" star is Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured SNL star in history with 16 seasons. According to Deadline, Thompson has a unique contract situation, where he and SNL creator Lorne Michaels decide at the end of every season if he wants to come back.
While Thompson has said he does not want to leave the show, recent additions to his workload hint at a possible departure. He signed on to lead the NBC pilot The Kenan Show, which was filmed in Los Angles between SNL episodes taped in New York. During a recent SNL break, he also filmed NBC's reality competition series Bring the Funny.
If The Kenan Show is picked up, the only way Thompson could possibly make it and star in SNL is if the series is filmed in New York.
Bryant could also leave, especially after her new Hulu series Shrill was picked up for a second season. However, she told Deadline in February she was planning to be back for SNL Season 45.
“I think I’ll definitely go back next season,” Bryant said at the time. “I’m going to take it as it comes. Especially being at SNL, I’ve really learned to not plan ahead, but being in the moment. But I know I would be incredibly sad if this was my last season and I’m not ready to go."
SNL was recently on a two-week break, but is back this weekend for an episode hosted by Adam Sandler with Shawn Mendes performing. It is the first of three consecutive episodes to end the season.
SNL airs on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: NBC