Kate McKinnon has long been a stand-out on Saturday Night Live, but there have been questions about how long she will stay on the show. Many of its best-loved stars have gone on to become movie stars or earn their own shows after establishing themselves on the series, but McKinnon has stayed on longer than many of them. This year marked her eighth year on SNL, and McKinnon has not said if the Season 45 finale will be her last.
Back in April 2019, Variety reported McKinnon's contract was almost up and the two sides were in "fluid" negotiations about her future. At the time, she had been in talks to play disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes for a Hulu mini-series. McKinnon was hired to star in and executive produce the series, which was formally ordered in May. It is titled The Dropout and is based on the ABC Radio podcast of the same name.
However, there has not been much progress on that project since it was announced. McKinnon also signed on to star in SNL Season 45, with Leslie Jones becoming the only cast member to leave. McKinnon also managed to stay on SNL while making the movies Bombshell and Yesterday.
Amid Season 45, McKinnon was also cast as Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, in a miniseries based on journalist Robert Moor's podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King. McKinnon was hired last fall, before the Netflix documentary series Tiger King debuted, and is also an executive producer. After Tiger King became a smash hit, the McKinnon project gained more attention, leading the real Baskin to ask the producers to use CGI tigers. It's not clear how far along the Baskin and Holmes projects are, but they have likely been put on hold while Hollywood is shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.
McKinnon is one of the most awarded SNL cast members in the show's history. She won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy in 2016 and 2017, becoming the first SNL actor to win an Emmy since Dana Carvey in 1993. She was also nominated in the category in 2015, 2018 and 2019, and earned a nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for the "Home for the Holiday (Twin Bed)" sketch. She also earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination as a member of the Bombshell cast.
While it is not clear if Saturday's episode will be McKinnon's last, it could be Colin Jost's. The "Weekend Update" co-anchor and co-head writer wrote about "preparing mentally" to leave the show in the future in his memoir A Very Punchable Face, reports Variety. Jost wrote about an interest in developing ideas bigger than sketches that only last a few minutes. Jost has been on the show even longer than McKinnon, joining 15 years ago as a writer.