‘SNL’ Without Lorne Michaels? “It Could Easily be Tina Fey,” Creator Says

What will happen to Saturday Night Live after season 50?

Franchise creator Lorne Michaels, currently steering the veteran NBC sketch comedy in its 49th season, continues to be focused on celebrating the star-making series next year.

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The executive producer told Entertainment Tonight at the 2023 Emmys that he’s already planning for SNL’s February 2025 celebration, with conversations about his potential successor expected to come before then.

“We’re doing the 50th anniversary show in February of ’25, so I will definitely be there for that, and definitely be there until that, and sometime before that we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do,” he told ET.

Michaels has been heavily involved with the series since its creation in 1975, save for a five-year hiatus in the 1980s. The prolific producer and comedy kingpin has not announced any plans to retire or step away from SNL. That said, speculation has been rampant for years that Michaels, who turned 79 in November, will see the show through its 50th season before hanging it up.

With that in mind, former SNL star Tina Fey — who alongside Amy Poehler took a seat at the “Weekend Update” desk for a special Emmys segment Monday — has been speculated for some time as the heir apparent to Michaels when it comes to taking over the sketch show.

“It could easily be Tina Fey, but you know, there are a lot of people who are there now who are also, you know [could be good],” he said. “Tina’s brilliant and great at everything. She’s a very important person in my life.”

Michaels, as he is prone to do with SNL alums, has reteamed with Fey multiple times since she departed the sketch show and has exec produced features including the original and musical incarnations of Mean Girls and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as well as former NBC comedy 30 Rock, among others. Fey’s Little Stranger banner — like Michaels’ Broadway Video — is housed at Universal Television, which produces SNL.

Reps for Fey and SNL declined to comment.

SNL has been a star-maker over the years and helped to launch the careers of folks including Fey, Poehler, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Kate McKinnon as well as Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, with the latter two late night hosts also considered strong candidates to take over for Michaels. SNL continues to be a vital show for NBC, though its linear ratings have tumbled — like everything else on broadcast — and the series would be a No. 1 show were it to air in primetime. What’s more, SNL has earned a whopping 314 Emmy nominations and won a record 84. (HBO’s Game of Thrones is a distant second with 59.) With its cast turnover, SNL is also less expensive to make than a scripted comedy series for broadcast.

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