Studio 8H has made a big change in its cast— comedian Leslie Jones will officially be leaving the show before its upcoming 45th season. Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon, whose contract expired in earlier in May, has decided to extend her’s for another year, with possible room for additional seasons.
As of now NBC has declined to comment and has not released an official statement regarding the news, however an insider has been quoted as commenting that: “Jones chose to depart to focus on other opportunities such as her upcoming Netflix standup special.”
On the sketch show since 2014, Jones has since been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on the series from 2017 and 2018, respectively. She also received another Emmy nomination for her work on the show’s 44th season musical number, Upper East Side.
Her television roles include on: Hulu’s The Awesomes, NBC’s The Blacklist, ABC’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, FX’s The League, and Comedy Central’s Workaholics. Jones also took on hosting duties for the 2017 BET Awards as well, while also being a guest contributor during NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games in Rio and Pyeongchang.
Mckinnon got her big break as a regular cast member on The Big Gay Sketch Show from 2007 until 2010, before breaking onto the Saturday Night Live scene in 2012. Since then she has taken on several film roles which include: Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in the remake of Ghostbusters from 2016, Mary Winetoss in 2016’s Office Christmas Party, and Pippa in the 2017 dark comedy Rough Night 2017.
The actress also most recently played Morgan in 2018’s The Spy Who Dumped Me. Aside from her feature film work, she has also been nominated for a total of seven Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and six for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, which she won in 2016 and 2017.
Saturday Night Live’s 45th season is set to premiere on on Sept. 28th with Woody Harrelson as host and Billie Ellish as musical guest.