As “Saturday Night Live” cast members prepare for Season 48, viewers will see multiple new faces on stage tonight after the largest cast overhaul in its history.
Executive producer and creator Lorne Michaels blamed the pandemic for the late-night comedy show’s recent turnover.
“The pandemic had put us in this position where no one could really leave, because there were no jobs,” Michaels said, according to the New York Times.
He continued to say that there “was no place to go” for the comedians who have been on the show for years amid the tumultuous times of the pandemic – which he called a “transition year.”
Prominent cast members who exited the stage for good include Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari, as well as Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Kyle Mooney, who have been on the show for years.
A few former “SNL” staff made the decision to leave and pursue other opportunities.
NBC announced that Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker are joining the show.
“Top Gun 2” actor Miles Teller will open Season 48 by hosting for the first time, with musical guest Kendrick Lamar.
They will join returning cast members Kenan Thompson, Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day, Andrew Dismukes, Chloe Fineman, James Austin, Punkie Johnson, Bowen Yang, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Sarah Sherman and Cecily Strong.
The restructuring of the comedians is the biggest change to the size of the cast in nearly a decade.
In 2013, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader said goodbye to “SNL” after Season 38, in addition to Seth Meyers leaving mid-season due to his new gig with NBC’s “Late Night.”
Eight more cast members joined “SNL” after Colin Jost took over the “Weekend Update” segment, following Meyer’s farewell.
The new season of “Saturday Night Live” premieres Oct. 1.