“Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones is making her exit from Studio 8H.
Jones, a beloved member of the comedy ensemble who made her debut on the series in 2014, is leaving the sketch show, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Additionally, Kate McKinnon, who had been rumored to be considering an exit, is expected to stay on board for Season 45, the source said.
NBC would not confirm the news. An email to Jones’ representatives was not immediately returned.
Jones was known for her frequent appearances on the mid-show Weekend Update news segment, where she’d frequently comment on politics and social issues like Alabama’s abortion ban legislation, with must-watch results.
She joined the cast at age of 47, giving her the distinction of being the oldest person to join the sketch show as a cast member. Her addition also marked the first time the show had more than one African American woman as a cast member. Sasheer Zamata was hired as a featured player the prior season.
Jones was nominated for the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series Emmy in both 2017 and 2018.
Jones next has a number of movie projects lined up and a comedy special with Netflix.
“SNL” cast changes ahead of new seasons are not uncommon. However, Jones’ exit leaves a hole in the lineup that won’t be easily filled. The show will likely be unable to replace the performer’s unique, larger-than-life delivery or her infectious, unbridled enthusiasm for all things Olympics.
“SNL” returns September 28. Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, David Harbour, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Murphy are among those lined up for hosts in the new season.