Last Updated on September 20, 2022
Saturday Night Live has hired its first “nonbinary” cast member as the show attempts to regroup after numerous key departures. SNL has dealt with a decline in ratings in recent years, with last season’s opener declining in viewership by 35 percent when compared with the previous installment. Last year’s premiere brought in just 3.5 million viewers.
Comedian Molly Kearney will become the first nonbinary cast member in SNL’s history when the show returns for its upcoming 48th season, NBC announced. Kearney most recently appeared in Amazon’s remake of the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” a film that centers on a fictionalized version of an all-female baseball league that was founded after the U.S. entered World War II.
Kearney prefers to use gender neutral “they/them” pronouns, according to NBC.
The Cleveland-based Kearney will be joined by three additional rookie cast members in the upcoming 48th season as the show deals with a major casting shake-up. Stand-up comics Marcello Hernandez, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker will attempt to replace longtime staples Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, all of whom announced their respective departures after the show’s 47th season.
The show will also be losing five-season veteran Chris Redd, who announced his departure earlier this week. NBC expected to lose Davidson, McKinnon and Bryant, but Redd’s exit was not expected. Cast members Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari will also be leaving, though their roles were not as integral to the show as the other four departures.
SNL has struggled with viewership in recent years. The long-running sketch comedy program’s season 47 premiere received dismal ratings last year, declining by 35 percent from the season 46 opener.
Cancellation rumors have swirled in recent years, with one longtime cast member suggesting SNL could end when creator Lorne Michaels retires. Keenan Thompson — who joined the cast in 2003 — claimed the show should probably end once creator Lorne Michaels steps down. Michaels, who created the show in 1975, will be approaching 80-years-old when the show reaches its 50th season in 2024.