For SNL die-hards, it still seems a bit strange that veteran cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah unceremoniously parted ways with the NBC Saturday staple in unexpected summer news chunklet form. (Jon Rudnitsky hit the exit too, but that wasn’t as surprising considering his “featured player” status.) They may not be regulars at Studio 8H anymore, but Killam and Pharoah can trumpet having new TV gigs at the ready in the near future.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Showtime has happily declared that both SNL alums have projects on the go at the premium cable network. Details tumbled out at today’s TCA Summer Press Tour, which seems like a perfectly reasonable place to chat about television wheelings and dealings. Killam has been tapped to star in a comedy anthology series titled Mating (name subject to change), which will spend its first season looking at a recently divorced dude trying to navigate a dating world that’s relatively unfamiliar to the one he knew before he got hitched. It sounds like the project (which is still in the pilot stage) might be a one-off for Killam, because the format is designed to focus on a different protagonist in each season.
Meanwhile, Pharoah is going to be the lead in White Famous, a comedy offering that’s loosely based on Jamie Foxx’s career. As you may have gathered from the title and Foxx connection, the series revolves around a rising black comedian (played by Pharoah) aiming to hold on to his credibility as his status reaches “white famous” levels.
Although both Killam and Pharoah had planned on continuing at Saturday Night Live this season, both projects were something the sketch stars had been discussing for weeks before Thursday’s public reveal. The original plan was to work around the SNL schedule, but obviously that obstacle is no longer an issue.
Here’s hoping next week we get word that Jon Rudnitsky has a Dirty Dancing Live special lined up at Starz.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)