Long-Time Cast Member Quits ‘Saturday Night Live’

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We would have bet money that Kate McKinnon would be the one leaving Saturday Night Live before the show’s 45th season. In a surprising twist, Kate is staying–while Leslie Jones is headed for the exit!

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Leslie Jones Is Done with Late-Night

Given that Kate McKinnon’s contract was up in May–and the fact that she’s arguably the biggest breakout star of her Saturday Night Live class–we were convinced that she’d be leaving the show. Instead, Leslie Jones has decided not to return for another season.

Jones was promoted to a featured player in 2014, becoming the oldest new cast member in the show’s history at 47. (Yeah, she’s now 52. No, she doesn’t look it!) She picked up Emmy nominations every year since 2017 and became one of the most reliably viral sketch players on the show.

Weekend Update will definitely suffer without Jones, and it leaves the show with just one African-American female cast member. While we’re sure that she’ll go on to bigger and better things (more on that in a moment), she’ll leave behind a larger-than-life space to fill. At least we’ll still have Kate McKinnon being her adorably weird self for another season.

What’s Next for Leslie Jones?

Shortly after the news broke that Jones was saying bye-bye to SNL, we learned that she had already landed a new gig. She’ll be hosting (and executive producing) a reboot of Supermarket Sweep!

We’ve known since 2017 that Fremantle planned to bring back the series–which allowed contestants to live the fantasy of recklessly filling their grocery shopping carts with the most expensive items in the store–but so far there’s no word on where the game show will actually air.

She seems like a brilliant choice to host a game show, given her upbeat personality, massive smile, and record of providing hilarious commentary. Her amateur Twitter commentary on the Olympics was so funny that NBC actually flew her out to the games. If she brings that energy to Supermarket Sweep, it’s bound to be a hit.

Jones also has a slate of film projects lined up, including a drama opposite Chris Rock called I Am Maurice, an indie flick with Kristen Bell, and a role in the Coming to America sequel. You’ll be able to see her in a new comedy special on Netflix sometime next year, too.

One More ‘Game of Jones’ for the Road

While we’re waiting for her stand-up special, I recommend you check out the final episode of “Game of Jones” with Leslie Jones and Seth Meyers: