Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd have got a new show premiering on NBC, but there are no plans to leave Saturday Night Live just yet.
They both star in the new comedy Kenan, which follows a widowed morning news anchor (Thompson) as he tries to parent his two daughters after losing his wife. The show has been in development for years and has gone through several iterations, but it's finally premiering on Feb. 16 and will require both Thompson and Redd to pull double duty between Kenan and SNL.
Many fans have wondered how much longer Thompson, the longest-tenured SNL cast member ever at nearly 18 years, will stick around, and while Redd has only been on SNL since 2017, his presence on Kenan has raised questions about him too. Fortunately, neither is looking to leave as of now.
"I think we're living in a different time," Thompson said on a virtual panel during NBC's winter TCA press day. "There used to be a time when people would leave [SNL] and go into their careers, but...I think you can kind of do both as long as you can and then the departure comes in a natural sort of way, and then so be it or whatever."
Redd said he "hasn't decided" yet how long he will remain on SNL, but for now both stars are just enjoying the ride.
"I'm just having fun being able to create with one of my best friends, and also be able to still go in and do sketch," Redd said. "I love sketch. I don't really see it as an exit strategy. I just kind of see it as another way to create."
All that said, Thompson and Redd have only dealt with combining the two schedules for one week so far.
"We'll see how exhausting it gets when it has to become a repeat kind of thing, but yeah we did it for the Christmas show and me and Chris went out there on Friday and showed up at rehearsal that night," Thompson recalled. "We'll see how the turnaround goes when it's only one day in between, but I'll be rushing back to my new family so I won't be overly exhausted because we'll hold each other up."
Kenan was originally picked up to series in May 2019, but was pushed until Thompson could make the show he really wanted to make.
"It's been a cycle of development. This is like my third go around with it and finally, third time's a charm," he said. "We've settled on something I think is pretty brilliant and I couldn't be more happy to be surrounded by people that I love seeing every day for, you know, 12 plus hours a day. I think we're making something really special here."
Kenan premieres Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. PT and 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
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