Saturday Night Live has been more than successful for nearly five decades now, and a lot of that is in great part due to the leadership of series creator Lorne Michaels. He’s guided the iconic sketch comedy institution through its various eras and helped form some of the best SNL casts. In more recent years though, some have wondered just how much longer the now 79-year-old producer might continue to steer the ship. With that, he just made some interesting comments about his future and the show’s – as well as how Tina Fey might figure into those plans.
The thought of the media giant leaving SNL is somewhat hard to fathom, considering just how synonymous he is with the program. However, when it comes down to it, one must know when to hang up their coat and call it a career. The Tommy Boy producer was at the 75th Primetime Emmys this week when he was asked about retirement and who he believes could succeed him. He admitted that he has indeed thought about it and referenced an upcoming milestone for the show when sharing a potential timeline for his plans:
Of course, I’ve thought about it, but it isn’t sort of …We’re doing the 50th-anniversary show in February of ’25, so I will definitely be there for that, and definitely be there until that, and sometime before that, we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do.
This isn’t the first time that Lorne Michaels has shared such sentiments in regard to the 50th anniversary. In December 2021, Michaels seemed to be eying retirement, saying that he’s committed to staying with the series at least up to that point. The fact that he re-emphasized that intention during his interview with ET seems to mean that he’s serious about this. That, of course, poses the question of who might take over the hot seat when he closes out his career. Later during his red carpet chat, Michaels was directly asked about Tina Fey possibly taking over the job. He definitely doesn’t seem opposed to the idea of the comedian, who he’s very close with, taking the job, but she may not be the only person in contention:
It could be Tina Fey, but you know, there are a lot of people who are there now who are also, you know [in the conversation]. … And Tina’s brilliant and great at everything! She’s a very important person to my life.
More on SNL
Few would deny that the Baby Mama star would be a great fit for the big job for multiple reasons. She’s without a doubt one of the funniest performers to ever take the stage at Studio 8H and understands the ins and outs of how the series works. Just this week, she showed off her signature humor when reviving her and Amy Poehler’s Weekend Update for an Emmys segment. Additionally, she has plenty of experience as a producer, even having worked with Lorne Michaels in that regard. (Michaels even gave her a note on 2004’s Mean Girls, which was implemented.)
However, the producer’s comments suggest that others who are currently working at the show could also be in the running. There are honestly a few names within the latest cast that could probably handle it. Series veterans Kenan Thompson and Colin Jost are the first that come to mind for me.
We still have over a year before the long-running show celebrates the 50-year mark, which gives Lorne Michaels an ample amount of time to figure something out. Like others, I’m curious about who might take over the reins. Though in spite of the uncertainty, most can probably agree that the person who follows in his footsteps has some major shoes to fill.
Saturday Night Live returns this week on January 20 at 11:30 p.m. ET as part of the 2024 TV schedule. The latest SNL Season 48 host and musical guest will be Jacob Elordi and Reneé Rapp, respectively. You can also check out classic episodes using a Peacock subscription.