Kenan Thompson Comedy Ordered to Series at NBC — How Will It Impact 'SNL'?

THE KENAN SHOW - Pilot Episode - Dani Lockett - Kenan Thompson - Dannah Lockett - Publicity-H 2019
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Kenan Thompson is finally heading to primetime.

Saturday Night Live's longest-tenured castmember has just gotten the call from NBC that his scripted comedy pilot — The Kenan Show — has been ordered to series.

The single-camera comedy, exec produced by SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels, stars the comedian as a newly widowed dad who is determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law (played by Andy Garcia) become more involved in their lives.

Insiders say Thompson — who is closing out his record 16th season on SNL — is expected to return to the sketch comedy next year, though it remains unclear in what capacity. Sources say The Kenan Show will be retooled and open a writers room now to complete scripts and potentially re-cut the pilot before going into production after Thomson finishes his time on SNL next year. The series is being eyed to air after the Summer Olympics in 2020 on NBC.

The current plan is for Thompson to serve as a judge for NBC's comedy competition series Bring the Funny, do SNL and then turn his focus to The Kenan Show. 

Thompson recently made his first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, during which he addressed his future on SNL and noted that he can't see himself walking away from what he called "the best job in the world." (Watch that clip, below.) That's a change from when the comedy was originally put in development, which would have seen Thompson — who won his first Emmy last year for SNL — exit the late-night staple.

As for The Kenan Show, Jackie Clarke (Superstore) penned the script and exec produces alongside Thompson, Michaels and his Universal TV-based Broadway Video topper Andrew Singer. Chris Rock directed the pilot and will exec produce the series.

The Kenan Show is NBC's sixth overall series order of the season and second comedy, joining Mike Schur-produced Kal Penn vehicle Sunnyside.

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