Kenan Thompson, The Rock, Jason Momoa And More Reach Out As SNL Loses A Major BTS Player After 20 Seasons

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(Image credit: NBC)

Saturday Night Live is approaching the Season 45 premiere in just a little over a month, but it will return to NBC in October missing somebody who has been part of the show for a long time. SNL producer Lindsay Shookus is leaving after being a major player behind the scenes for many years, and some big names (including current SNL star Kenan Thompson) reached out after she announced the news.

Lindsay Shookus announced that she is leaving the NBC mainstay after 20 years and more than 400 live shows on Instagram. The producer had been nominated for ten Emmys during her time at SNL, winning four. She thanked the cast and crew of the show, including famed SNL creator and producer, Lorne Michaels. As to what's next for her after her departure, she wrote:

I am excited about what lies ahead …. (Apparently there’s a thing called Brunch that people do on weekends?) I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my daughter, continuing my work with the SNL diversity scholarship, which I proudly helped to create and foster with the support of NBC Universal & my incredible SNL Talent Team, and devoting more energy to @womenworkfinghard, the organization I co-founded in 2018 to help women navigate their careers, build their businesses and (nowadays especially) advocate for their rights!

Shookus was clearly a beloved BTS player on the show. Previous hosts and cast members expressed their gratitude in the comments on her Instagram post for the tremendous work she did on SNL during her tenure, including stars like Kenan Thompson, The Rock, and Jason Momoa.

Kenan Thompson

Kenan Thompson has been an SNL mainstay for almost two decades, and is the cast member with the longest stint in SNL history (appearing in over 1,500 sketches). He has worked at the show almost as long as Lindsay Shookus has. Thompson started at the show in 2003, just a year after the producer. Thompson expressed his thoughts by providing a quote by P.B. Kerr:

😢It’s been a pleasure of a journey my friend!!! “May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past." Cheers!! ❤️❤️❤️

Clearly, Shookus will be very well missed over at Studio 8H as the cast gets ready for a new season.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

The Rock is a member of SNL’s “Five-Timers Club” meaning he has hosted the show five times. He has been part of many iconic sketches, and has evidently bonded with cast members and behind-the-scenes professionals at the show, including Shookus. He commented on her post, saying: 

What a phenomenal, impactful and wildly successful run, Linds! Congratulations and you’re gonna crush your next ventures. Always rooting you on 🖤🥃

Isn't The Rock just the sweetest? Based on his kind words, she must’ve made an impact on the Black Adam star.

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa only hosted SNL once back in 2018, but has come back for two cameos over the years. Shookus was the head of the show’s talent department during her time, so I’m sure she interacted with many stars like Momoa over the course of her decades-long tenure. Momoa commented a heartfelt message, congratulating her:

one of the greatest moments of my life. what a week spent with you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ love you mama. congratulations

Shookus made headlines from 2017 to 2019 for dating "Five-Timers Club" member Ben Affleck before he rekindled his romance with Jennifer Lopez, but she leaves behind a legacy at SNL that goes far beyond a romance a few years back.  

With her departure, I wish her well and many brunches to come. In addition to Saturday Night Live, Shookus was credited as a producer on 45 episodes of the NBC hit show 30 Rock, so maybe she won’t stray too far from NBC and the television world.

Saturday Night Live returns to NBC for its 48th season this fall, and Peacock subscribers can stream full past episodes of the show to rewatch any of your favorites. To plan ahead for the upcoming TV season (including SNL), check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.