Legendary producer Lorne Michaels is thinking about retiring from his long-running NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Speaking on CBS Mornings, Michaels said that he wants to stick things out until the show’s 50th anniversary season in 2024, but after that, it might be time to step away.
“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.”
Michaels created and then developed the popular variety show with executive Dick Ebersol, with the first episode premiering on NBC on October 11, 1975. The show gained massive success with its revolving casts of comedians and mix of character-based sketches and topical comedy.
When asked if SNL could continue without him, Michaels replied, “Of course,” adding, “I have a sense of where we’re headed with that, you know.” However, he refused to say whether he had a replacement in mind. “I’m not going to go on about it — it’s three years away.”
Michaels previously stepped away from the show in 1980 to explore other opportunities. He was replaced by producer Jean Doumanian, who only lasted one season after a spate of bad reviews. Ebersol then took over the reins until 1985, when Michaels returned.
This isn’t the first time Michaels has hinted at retiring after the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Speaking to NBC’s Today in October 2020, the SNL showrunner said, “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.”
Saturday Night Live, Saturdays, 10 p.m., NBC