‘SNL’: Beck Bennett & Lauren Holt Exiting, Rest Of Cast Returns As NBC Variety Series Adds Three Featured Players

Courtesy of Will Heath/NBC

Saturday Night Live has finally set its cast for its upcoming 47th season. The long-running NBC institution is bringing back the majority of its cast members, including Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong.

However, Beck Bennett, who joined SNL in 2013, is departing, alongside Lauren Holt, who joined as a featured player last season.

The late-night comedy variety series has also added three new featured players to the cast: Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman. Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang have also been upped to main cast.

This means that the 2021-22 ensemble features Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor and Bowen Yang, featuring Aristotle Athari, Andrew Dismukes, James Austin Johnson, Punkie Johnson and Sarah Sherman.

SNL
(L-R): Aristotle Athari, Sarah Sherman & James Austin Johnson NBC

This brings to an end another long summer of rumors as to whether some of the bigger names would return. There had been much speculation about Davidson, McKinnon, Bryant and particularly Strong, whose season finale-stealing impersonation of Judge Jeanine Pirro was seen by many as a last goodbye.

However, Deadline understands that creator Lorne Michaels has become more flexible in recent years allowing some of these bigger names to combine Saturday Night Live with other projects.

A number of them are likely to be in and out of 30 Rock over the coming nine months, depending on scheduling. For instance, McKinnon will be filming Peacock limited series Joe Exotic.

Bennett, who has appeared on eight seasons of the show, is the main departure. In a note on Instagram (see below), he said, “Love you, SNL. Gonna miss you so much. Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life. I had so much fun.”

Of the new cast, James Austin Johnson — a pitch-perfect Donald Trump impersonator — has appeared in such series as Future Man, All Rise and Tuca & Bertie; Athari has featured in Silicon Valley; and Sherman previously worked on The Eric Andre Show.

SNL returns on Oct. 2 with host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves. It is produced in association with Broadway Video. The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels.

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This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2021/09/snl-beck-bennett-lauren-holt-exiting-rest-of-cast-returns-three-featured-players-1234844980/