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The 77-year-old SNL co-creator told CBS Mornings that he might leave the late night sketch comedy institution after the show’s 50th anniversary season, which gets underway in 2024.
“You know, I think I’m committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years,” he said. “I’d like to see that through, and I have a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave. But … I won’t want the show ever to be bad. I care too deeply about it. It’s been my life’s work. So I’m going to do everything I can to see it carry on.”
Asked if there could be an SNL without him, the executive producer replied, “Of course,” and then added vaguely, “I have a sense of where we’re headed with that, you know.” Pressed for who would take over for him, he refused to say. “I’m not going to go on about it — it’s three years away.”
While Michaels typically shrugs off any suggestion of retirement, this isn’t the first time he’s at least hinted at this plan. In October 2020, Michaels told NBC’s Today, “My plan — and I’m not sure that I’ll see it through — but my plan is to be here for the 50th … and then by that point, I really deserve to wander off.”
The 20-time Emmy winner exited the show previously, stepping away for five years in the early 1980s, but otherwise has been its steward since launching the series in 1975.
On another topic, Michaels was asked about whether any comedy is truly out of bounds nowadays. “I think it’s up to the writer or the performer to figure out how to do it,” he replied. “There are lots of things that, when you hear the idea, sounds awful. But if they can do, I don’t think anything’s out of bounds, is what I’m saying, if there’s enough talent to figure out how to get it across.”
Last weekend, SNL aired its latest episode with a reduced cast and no live audience due to the omicron variant surging in New York City.
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