Monday, September 6, 2010

EDitorial: Will Kristen Wiig be the next player to leave SNL?

So Lorne just hired four new performers and a batch of new writers as Will Forte leaves SNL (voluntarily) and some writers leave as well.

And this helps prove my theory correct. Assuming Lorne isn't announcing any cuts this season, then Lorne is expecting an exodus (whether natural or prodded on). This makes sense, seeing how last season we had three featured players, and the other 8 performers (Kristen, Bill, Jason, Andy, Kenan, Fred, Seth, & Will) are now approaching at least 6 years (this is Seth's 10th season and Fred's 9th). So what that typically means is that Lorne has to be ready so that he doesn't repeat the 1979 travesty (that is where all his last performers gave in their final season, and the next season Lorne tried to scramble together the writers to be performers, the audience didn't care as much and Lorne got replaced; Lorne came back with a vengeance in 1985).

And what "ready" means is that he needs other performers out there that the audience likes, so that if his four big stars left in the same season, he still has a good show. Makes sense. He did the same thing in 2005 by bringing in Jason, Andy, Bill, and Kristen (all were huge hits). Of course that gave him 16 players!!! Wow, talk about fighting for air time!

The down-side of this strategy is that if he doesn't get an exodus, and the new guys rock and roll (like they did in 2005), then he has to do what he did in the 2006-2007 season... let some of his older players go (Sanz, Parnell, and Finesse Mitchell). And then that season Fey and Dratch also left. So between a 2-person exodus and letting three people go (I agree with all three cuts and I don't think Dratch added enough), he was left 11 cast members (and no featured players) in the 2006-2007 season.

(In fact, that's why there are reruns and specials during the SNL season... because the studio told Lorne that he has to cut more cast or cut episodes... so he's choosing to keep as many cast members as he can.)

So... here is my prediction about how it's going to go down...

This season, Abby, Bobby, Nasim, and these new players really prove themselves. I mean check out the Scrubs Interns episode with Taran Killam. He stole that show. If SNL didn't pick him up, someone would have handed him his own sitcom after something like that. The webisode was almost like an audition to SNL, what with the impressions, the touchy-feely shtick, and the dance off (not to mention the awkwardness on camera that he faked). Plus the dude has been on Scrubs, MadTV, and he used to be in the Groundlings (like Will Ferrell and others). And check out Jay Pharoah. We're looking at the next Eddie Murphy (he does Eddie better than Eddie does himself).

If the other two can pull off humor like that then we've got a new future for SNL. ...And a potential repeat of 2006 on SNL (where Lorne is going to hope for an exodus or else he has to cut a few off).

Last season, there were 12 players on SNL, and now they're adding an additional 4. Subtract Will Forte (who recently announced that he's choosing to leave), and we're left with 15 players (very similar to the 16 in 2006).

Next year, the 2011-2012 season, if no one leaves, then Lorne might have to let someone go, well, maybe three someones.

Kenan Thompson is entering his 8th season right now, Fred Armisen: his 9th, and Seth Meyers: his 10th. This is Jason Sudeikis' 7th, and 6th for Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Kristen Wiig.

So Kristen Wiig has a chance to break out in films with her Bridesmaids film (and she's been supporting in dozens of films, so she has what it takes), Jason Sudeikis has been a late bloomer, but he's been on 30 Rock 12 times now, Cleveland Show 19 times, a larger part in Bounty Hunter, and he's got a great lineup of films coming, including a starring role that could break him out. And I think while Lorne is in no hurry to lose Andy Samberg, The Lonely Island would merely have to say to Lorne, "We want you to produce our show," and then BAM - Andy's gone and on his own show.

And then Fred Armisen might leave SNL simply because he knows that he should leave before he gets cut in order to save some face. (I could see Fred supporting on a sitcom, but he couldn't lead a film.)

Meanwhile Bill Hader is racking up the supporting roles, but he's failing to line up a potential break-out role (not sure why he didn't muster some momentum from his awesome Super Bad performance opposite Seth Rogen to pitch Seth a buddy comedy).

Kenan Thompson continues supporting roles (he's Greedy in Smurfs), but he's already had his chance to star in films twice, so he probably knows that supporting film roles and SNL are as good as it gets for him (unless he can land a supporting role on a sitcom).

I see Seth Meyers sticking it out on SNL until he's given a high-profile talk show gig. With the NBC debaucle, Lorne probably couldn't get him one, so Seth would probably need to land it on his own and not on NBC. Lorne has no reason to cut him since he's popular and only on Weekend Update (and he's the head writer).

So these are the people who might leave because they're pursuing TV, film, or saving face, in order of how likely I think they are to leave after the 2010-2011 season...

1. Kristen Wiig (to a sitcom or films)
2. Jason Sudeikis (to a sitcom or films)
3. Andy Samberg (to his own skit show with TLI or doing music full-time)
4. Fred Armisen (to save face and pursue smaller projects, like Will Forte just did)

And then here are the cuts that I see likely if Lorne is forced to let someone go (listed in order; note that I love these people and think they're hilarious, so don't get me wrong; it's more about the business of it):

1. Fred Armisen (his Obama impression was his insurance, but he just lost that role to Jay Pharoah... mark my words)
2. Kenan Thompson (being the only black cast member was his insurance, but he also just lost that benefit due to Jay Pharoah)
3. Jenny Slate (if she makes it to this coming season, she will probably be the female cast member with the most to prove, especially because Vanessa Bayer looks spunky, fresh, and super creative, something Jenny needs to step up)

I don't think Lorne will let these people go that I'm listing below (in order of how valuable they are to him):

1. Kristen Wiig (come on; she's the Eddie Murphy of the female cast)
2. Andy Samberg (the dude put YouTube on the map, his fan base is through the roof, his record(s) sell, his shorts get millions of views each, and he seems to get nominated for an Emmy (or Grammy) every year; if Lorne was thinking of letting him go, he'd just drop Andy down to the Digital Shorts only before he'd ever let Andy go)
3. Bobby Moynihan, Abby Elliott, and Nasim Pedrad (Lorne needs fresh blood and a future to SNL, and these are them, but with all that new blood coming, these three need to step up their games or they'll be in round two of the cuts)
4. Jason Sudeikis (Jason is a do-all straight man and very charming; with Will Forte out of the picture, Jason needs to be there to fill that role)
5. Bill Hader (Bill has some great impressions, a huge fan base, and he's also a do-all actor; plus he hasn't been around as long as Fred and Kenan)
6. Seth Meyers (he's been around forever, but he's only on Weekend Update and he's still super popular; the only reason to let him go is if a producer wanted to move on because they didn't like him as the head writer or something)

So again, it falls on Fred Armisen, Kenan Thompson, and Jenny Slate as the most likely candidates to get cut (if the need arose).


1 comment:

  1. Wiig, Hader, Samberg & Sudeikis are all contracted till the end of the 2011/2012 season, at which point they'll probably all leave. All have two seasons left, but I predict that with the hiring of Jay Pharoah, Fred will leave after this season and possibly Kenan too.


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