NBC’s veteran sketch comedy series will be missing a pair of familiar faces when it returns to The Peacock Network later this month. Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson will not return to the long-running comedy show, The New York Times has learned.
Michaela joined SNL in November and quickly became known for her spot-on impersonations of Arianna Huffington and Today Show commentator Hoda Kotb. She says she hopes her characters will live on — but understands why she was let go.
“I’m not sure if ‘SNL’ owns Arianna Huffington from now on,” she told The Times. “I don’t know if I’ll get sued. Probably not. It’s like, ‘No, take your Arianna Huffington and get out of here.'”
She continued, “I’ve been watching that show forever and I know to get stuff on as a featured player, people aren’t used to you yet, your face, your voice. They’re still figuring out whether they like you or not.”
In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, said the news came as a “shock,” but she didn’t “have any regrets” about her year on SNL, even adding that series producer Lorne Michaels is lobbying for her to get her own sitcom.
“It was a fantastic year,” she explained. “He felt deep down that I should have my own show. I honestly don’t know. What he said is he’s trying to get what’s best for him and best for me. He said it had nothing to do with talent. And I’m just going to go on that. That was his only explanation.”
Casey spoofed Jennifer Aniston and Rachael Ray during her two years on the show. She is to return to Los Angeles theatee group Upright Citizens Brigade on September 24. Two new castmembers, Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad, will replace Michaela and Casey next season.
Saturday Night Live kicks off its 35th season with an opening show hosted by Jennifer’s Body hottie Megan Fox September 26.