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If you are a Taran Killam and/or Jay Pharoah fan whose heart was broken earlier this week by the news that they are not returning for Saturday Night Live‘s 42nd season, then you may be comforted to know that both actors will be returning to the small screen very soon.
Despite being let go from SNL only a few short days ago, Variety reports that both Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah will be headlining new comedies on Showtime.
Well that was fast.
Killam will be starring in a half-hour comedy series, Mating, created by Jason Katims (Parenthood) and written by Stu Zicherman (The Affair). In Mating, Killam will play a guy who married young but is now divorced and completely innocent to the world of modern dating and hook-ups. The series is intended to be structured as an anthology, which means every season will focus on a new story and new protagonist character.
Like Killam, Pharoah will also be the lead in a new half-hour comedy series on Showtime. Pharoah’s new series, White Famous, is based on an idea from Jamie Foxx about a young African-American comedian named Floyd Mooney. Pharoah will play Mooney as he struggles through his career to become “white famous.”
Believe it or not, both Killam and Pharoah’s new contracts with Showtime help explain (a little) why neither actor will be returning to SNL.
The casting announcements were made during the Television Critics Association press tour where Showtime Networks president and CEO, David Nevins explained, “Our conversations had been with the actors. It’s been happening over the past several weeks, probably a month. We were prepared to work around their SNL schedules, and so our scheduling got easier when they ended up getting released from the show.”
According to Nevins, the deals with both actors have been in the works for a while, which in many ways, would seem to explain why Killam and Pharoah won’t be returning to SNL. But, regardless, Killam’s release from his contract came as a surprise to the actor. Earlier this week in an interview he said, “I don’t know fully. I don’t know the other side of it. You sign for seven years, so I had one more year. I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.”
Pharoah has yet to release a statement about his departure from SNL.