Saturday Night Live‘s 47th season has a premiere date, but even inside Studio 8H there’s apparently some considerable uncertainty about who will actually appear on stage come October 2.
The NBC sketch comedy showcase announced on Thursday it would return next month with a brief video that spliced some past and present SNL together to drop the return date. But beyond that, things were scarce. That includes who will host the episode, the musical guest and, according to Deadline, the actual cast members trying to make the funny.
According to the report, cast members decidedly on the fence about returning are still mulling over their future. And while summer is traditionally the time Lorne Michaels and crew lock down their cast and get things ready, there’s a chance the show will actually start without major contracts in place for several notable names.
The news comes as creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels is still in talks with key cast members over who will return and who won’t.
The rumor mill has swirled over the last few months as to whether the likes of Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong will be back for Season 47; these conversations are understood to be ongoing.
The hope is that most of the contracts will be signed and sealed ahead of the premiere, but there is a possibility that not all will be completely resolved.
Bryant, Strong, McKinnon and Davidson are all likely to seek work outside of SNL, and Deadline had previously reported that Michaels and the show were less restrictive of those outside efforts lately in an attempt to keep the cast around. In fact, rumors that he wants a veteran cast locked in until at least Season 50 would make keeping at least a few of these longtime contributors a priority.
What’s unclear here, though, is whether contracts not settled means the show starts with an incomplete or shorthanded cast or final details would get locked down with veterans returning to the fold. It’s all very late in the game to figure anything out here, though, which means there are likely a lot of improv experts frantically checking their phones in New York and Los Angeles over the next few days and weeks until there’s an official announcement about who we’ll see on TV this fall.