More big changes are coming on NBC “Saturday Night Live”.
As the feature-length graphic comedy series begins its 48th season, USA TODAY has learned that cast members Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari won’t be returning to the show this fall.
This news comes just three months after Hands Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney confirmed their exits during the season 47 finale in May.
Executive Producer Lorne Michaels has made the changes as he auditions for potential new cast members this week to join the show when it returns in early October.
Moffat joined ‘SNL’ as a featured player in 2016 before being promoted to the main cast member in 2018. The Chicago native is best known for playing Eric Trump and The man who just bought a boat In a weekend update. He will then appear in the TV comedy “Bad Monkey” on Apple TV + with Vince Vaughn and Michelle Monaghan.
Villaseñor was also promoted to a regular player in 2018 two years after the show, impersonating celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Dolly Parton. Outside of SNL, she has worked extensively in animation, voicing characters in “Toy Story 4”, “Q-Force” on Netflix, and “Adventure Time” on Cartoon Network.
Athari’s departure comes after just one season: He joined the cast as a featured player last fall with Sarah Sherman and James Austin Johnson, but has struggled to get screen time and release the featured characters, save for “international singing sensation” Angelou.
It is believed to be the biggest change in the cast since 1985, after Michaels returned to the show after a five-year absence, when nearly all of the cast, including Billy Crystal and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, were replaced.
“SNL” has struggled to find a foothold in recent years, with fewer political plots after Donald Trump left the White House, and faced hurdles linked to the coronavirus. Fan-favorite players such as Bryant, Davidson and Cecily Strong also missed the show while filming other projects. Strong will also miss at least the first part of next season.
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