It felt like a very dramatic loss when executive producer Lorne Michaels announced that Saturday Night Live was losing major cast members last year. With the departures of Jason Sudeikis, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen, the three plus decade running sketch show needed to rework their cast in a big way.
That resulted in bringing on a whole group of new talents, a bunch of new faces came from YouTube, UCB, and a bunch of other outlets that didn’t exist when the show first got its start in 1975. It made for a pretty solid but tough season. It was a season that at times felt bloated and saw newcomers like Noel Wells, and Brooks Wheelan fighting for screen time. It also saw the overlooked veteran Nasim Pedrad take a backseat to the likes of Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong. Pedrad has since moved on from Saturday Night Live for her own show.
Now Michaels has announced to Deadline that even more shakeups are happening before the new season is underway.
“There will be changes this year,” said Michaels.
Lorne continued to explain the challenges the 2013-2014 season brought due to losing key members of the cast.
“We lost four leading men at the end of last season, Fred [Armisen] and Bill [Hader] and Andy [Samberg] and Jason [Sudeikis], all of whom were very seasoned, very strong cast. We lost Kristin [Wiig] the year before.”
“All have been here a long time, and you get used to how good people are. Losing the fifth leading man in Seth [Meyers] (in early February) was a hard thing, in the middle of a season, because there’s only one other time in the 39 years that we ever changed Update in the middle of a season, and that was Norm Macdonald to Colin Quinn.”
Not addressing the backlash he received about the lack of African American female comedians, which prompted an impromptu audition and resulted in the casting of Sasheer Zamata, the executive producer focused on Saturday Night Live’s struggles due to the gigantic loss in the cast.
“I think that that made it a much harder thing, in addition to having to focus on launching Jimmy and launching Seth. But SNL, we put a lot of pressure, a lot of new people. It was a hard season.”
In addition to putting pressure on Zamata to fill in for roles that weren’t previously covered since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007, there was also pressure on head writer and new co-anchor Colin Jost who stepped into huge shoes when Seth Meyers left.
There’s no word on how many people will need to be replaced.
[Image via NBC]