So since there are only three more episodes for this season, I figured now would be a good a time as any to offer up some predictions about who in the SNL cast won’t be returning next year.
Obviously I’m not privy to any behind the scenes working at Saturday Night Live, so this is pure speculation with some educated guesses.
It’s a fun game to play, plus this week’s episode was a repeat so I’m out some content.
Nasim Pedrad – She’s gone. She landed the pilot for SNL writer John Mulaney’s sitcom. Ordinarily I’d say that she’d be missed, but she’s been underutilized and pretty much outshined this season. The addition of Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong really hurt Nasim’s time on the show. Still, I’ll miss her, especially her character Bedelia.
Seth Meyers – I’d put money on Seth leaving. The gossip about him succeeding Jimmy Fallon on Late Night is deafening. Unless someone pulls a power play or NBC decides they really want to have a West Coast presence in late night, Lorne Michaels is pulling the strings and Seth had the gig.
Also, Seth’s been on the show for a dozen years. That’s a long time for SNL. He’s bound to be moving on and former Update anchors have a recent history of doing well at NBC (30 Rock, Late Night, Parks & Recreation.) Personally I’ll miss Seth, who has become one of my favorite Update anchors.
Jason Sudekis – I’m pretty sure he’s as good as gone. He’s engaged to Olivia Wilde and he’s got a moderately successful movie career. I can’t really see him sticking around for another year, especially considering he was mulling over coming back for the current season.
Fred Armisen – Yet another cast member who’s been with the show for over a decade. Fred also has the immensely popular side-gig Portlandia. He’s yet another cast member who’s seen his time on screen lessened recently.
For me personally, the loss of Fred would be pretty big. Fred’s like a modern day Phil Hartman, in that he can both anchor a sketch and save one. Plus I’ll really miss most of his characters, but especially Roger Brush and Nicholas Fehn.
Bill Hader – I could see Bill leaving. I’m sure that there are people at SNL who are actively trying to keep him around. If Armisen, Sudekis and Meyers leave that would leave the show desperately short on white males.
I’m guessing Bill could take more movie roles and have a solid career. But Hader the backbone of many sketches and every game show parody. Losing him would be a pretty big deal.
Kenan Thompson – Kenan’s been on SNL for a decade. He’s been around long enough to have most of his recurring characters retired. He fills two roles; that of the veteran and that of the Black guy. The presence of Jay Pharoah undermines the latter, but the departure of, at least, Sudekis and Meyers strengthens his position as the former.
Kenan hasn’t proved to be a vial member of the show the last couple of season, but he doesn’t really have much going on outside of the show. I could see him sticking around out of complacency. Though, I could see Kenan possibly taking over Update.
(Totally forgot about his pilot for NBC. Did that get picked up? I'm guessing he's leaving.)
Vanessa Bayer – She’s blends in with the current cast perfectly. She’s not a standout but she hold her own. With Pedrad leaving she stands to be more of a player than ever before.
Taran Killam – He’s poised to be the next breakout star from SNL. He’s on the cusp of being huge. He’s not going anywhere.
Bobby Moynihan – Bobby had a pretty big year, SNL wise. His Drunk Uncle was a standout and I fully anticipate seeing Anthony Crispino on next week’s episode. He’s got a reoccurring sketch with Cecily Strong. He’s on the rise and due to be a major player in the upcoming season.
Jay Pharoah – He’s the Black guy du jour and a solid impressionist. He’s also President Obama. He’s not leaving.
Kate McKinnon – She’ll be promoted up from featured to regular cast. While she could be the backbone of the cast, with her array of impressions, I could see her taking over Update. Not leaving.
Cecily Strong – Another player who had a breakout year. Between “Girl You Don’t Want To Get In a Conversation With At a Party” and her recurring characters, I’m betting she’ll be promoted. Not going anywhere.
Aidy Bryant – Aidy had an impressive debut year. But I don’t know if it was impressive enough to get promoted from featured player. I also don’t think she’ll be leaving the cast.
Tim Robinson – Tim had a solid year. He got some screen time in some good sketches. Again, I don’t know if his contribution is enough to get a promotion. That said, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
And that ends the first annual SNL Prediction of the Sunday Morning Quarterback. I’ll certainly look forward to seeing how things play out over the next few months.