As exciting as Eddie Murphy and Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s forthcoming hosting duties for Saturday Night Live are, the long-running variety program’s new season is entirely filled with good news. That’s because cast member Leslie Jones, who has been a part of the program for the past five years, isn’t returning when the 45th season debuts in September.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Coming 2 America star will not be a part of the cast come September 28th, when guest host Woody Harrelson and musical performer Billie Eilish kick things off for the new season. Per the report’s sources, the comedy actress has “opted to depart the veteran comedy and will instead focus on her upcoming feature film projects” instead. She’s also busy preparing for her upcoming Netflix stand-up comedy special, which was announced earlier this month.
So far, Jones is the only SNL cast member who won’t be returning for season 45. Fellow senior players like Kate McKinnon, who “closed a new deal to return” this season, and Kenan Thompson will be back. The rest of the cast — including featured players Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim and Chris Redd; and repertory players Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Colin Jost, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Cecily Strong, and Melissa Villasenor — are also returning next month.
Neither SNL, NBC nor Jones has yet to comment publicly on the news, though the latter did tweet about some errant Twitter issues overnight.
Like fuck @Twitter right now y’all are the WORST TO POST ON!! Ugh!! Been trying to post a video for two hours just goes to drafts!! Get your fucking shit together or I’m gonna stop using you real talk!
— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) August 27, 2019
(Via Hollywood Reporter)