Lorne Michaels Breaks Silence on Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah’s ‘SNL’ Exits

Arya Roshanian

Lorne Michaels is breaking his silence on the eve of “Saturday Night Live’s” 42nd-season premiere on longtime cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah’s departures.

The “SNL” creator and executive producer told USA Today that the NBC variety show’s roster changes keep the series fresh.

“I think they were great, and they did wonderful work when they were with us,” Michaels said. “They served the show well, and are two people I really care about.”

“Change is the lifeblood of the show; it always has been,” he added. “And you have to keep bringing new people in. Hopefully it’s for the best. I’m not worried about either of them going on to success.”

Both of the actors have since landed separate Showtime comedy pilots. Pharaoh will star in “White Famous” from exec producer Jamie Foxx, as a young African-American comedian whose star is rising, while Killam will lead “Mating” from Jason Katims, which explores modern relationships.

Michaels also recently cast Mikey Day, Melissa Villaseñor, and Alex Moffat to the show. Additionally, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, and Leslie Jones were promoted to series regulars.

Michaels, 71, also revealed that “SNL” alum Tina Fey suggested bringing back Alec Baldwin to portray Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Fey and Baldwin costarred on NBC’s “30 Rock.”

“[Fey] said, ‘You know who would be a great Trump is Alec!'” Michaels recalled. “I talked to Alec, who was finishing a movie, he was getting ready to have a baby — it couldn’t have been worse timing. But, slowly, the idea grew on me. People on the show liked it, and I thought he’d be great with Kate [McKinnon].”

Margot Robbie will host and The Weeknd will perform during Saturday’s “SNL” premiere.

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