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In a bold but somewhat shocking move, Saturday Night Live writer Michael Che has landed a spot at the Weekend Update table for Season 40. He’s replacing Cecily Strong in the process, and will co-anchor the skit along with Colin Jost when NBC's late night sketch comedy series hits the schedule later this month. Today’s news marks another shakeup for Weekend Update, which has changed formatting a few times since Seth Meyers left the show last year.
THR got the scoop, noting that Che isn’t a total unknown to the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live. He’s a comedian who joined SNL after acting as a correspondent on The Daily Show with John Stewart. He wrote a few sketches in 2014, but with his correspondent background, he was probably itching to get back in front of the camera. He wouldn’t be the first SNL writer to make the transition to the Weekend Update table. In recent years, Seth Meyers was the head writer on SNL when he took over as the Weekend Update co-anchor. Che will hopefully have no trouble transitioning, as well.
The news is great for Che, but probably a huge bummer for Cecily Strong, who I actually thought has had pretty great delivery while delivering the Weekend Update news. She had practice working with Meyers before he officially left the show at the start of the season. After Meyers left, Jost joined the segment as a co-anchor. I honestly think she’s a bit more memorable than Jost, but obviously the powers that be over at NBC feel differently. Maybe all the weird faces she likes to make were not going over all that well.
On the bright side, Strong will be staying on SNL as a player, which is better news than some of last year’s cast have gotten over the last several months. Brooks Whelan was fired in July. Shortly after, John Milhiser and Noel Wells were also let go. The other big cast shake-up is Nasim Pedrad, who officially quit the series to join the Fox comedy Mulaney.
It’s the nature of SNL to be high pressure and subject to change, but even a brief stint doing something important on the show can change a player’s life forever. Here's to hoping the new lineup will continue to improve SNL as we move into Season 40. NBC’s Saturday Night Live will hit the schedule on Saturday, September 27 at 11:35 p.m. ET.