Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is Lorne Michaels Really Thinking About Leaving Saturday Night Live?

Originally titled "NBC's Saturday Night," according to History, the series that would go on to be known as "Saturday Night Live" premiered in 1975. Weathering rollercoaster ratings, cast member meltdowns, and the occasional poor choice of host, "SNL" has, over several decades, slowly but surely become a cultural institution whose end seems almost unthinkable. The variety show, known for topical sketches and featuring live music performances, is so prevalent in the cultural conversation that it has made movie and TV stars out of veteran performers, including Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, and Amy Poehler among others.

As "SNL" showrunner, producer, and co-creator, Lorne Michaels has anchored the series since the beginning. He's become something of a showbiz legend, much like the show he's overseen for decades. Like his creation, Michaels has endured controversy (via Deadline) during his time at the top of the "SNL" chain of command, but he remains pivotal to the voice and tone of the NBC sketch comedy series. 

However, Michaels is beyond the traditional retirement age, so it's understandable that the producer has started thinking about stepping down and what the future of "SNL" would look like after his tenure ends. Here's what we know about whether or not Michaels is leaving "Saturday Night Live."

Lorne Michaels may leave SNL after the 50th anniversary

In a recent "CBS Mornings" interview, Lorne Michaels shared that he is considering leaving "Saturday Night Live" shortly after the show hits its 50th anniversary. That date isn't too far off — 2024, to be exact. The "SNL" co-creator explained, "You know, I think I'm committed to doing this show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years. I'd like to see that through, and I have a feeling that'd be a really good time to leave."

Yet Michaels, who currently serves as showrunner and producer on the NBC comedy show, understandably wants to be careful about who will replace him. Similarly, while speaking with "CBS Mornings," it became clear he wanted to ensure the quality of the award-winning series he co-created would not drop following his departure. He said, "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."

Michaels did imply that he'd thought about the future of the series but would comment on a potential successor further down the road, remarking enigmatically, "I'm not going to go on about it — it's three years away." We'll likely find out who is tapped to be the next showrunner for "Saturday Night Live" around the same time Michaels officially announces he's leaving.