A lot of people decide in their careers that they’ve been there, done that, and it’s time to move on, says late-night comedy historian Bill Carter.  “Not (Lorne Michaels). He once told me I want to be the one to turn the lights off.

But that’s all changed as the Saturday Night Live maestro has been hinting about his intent to step away. He told The Today Show, “My plan — and I’m not sure that I’ll see it through — but my plan is to be here for the 50th … and then by that point, I really deserve to wander off.”

Some speculate that NBC should just end SNL when Lorne walks away. Ain’t happening, Carter told Matt Belloni on The Town podcast.  The show still gets buzz, it still gets ratings, and it still fills a huge hole in the lineup.  “They’ve managed to make it so important that it’s live” -- other than sports programming, that just doesn’t happen these days.  

So if the show must go on, who will be the ringmaster?  “I don’t think Lorne has openly said who he wants,” says Carter, “but I’m sure he wants one of his children.”

Here then are three candidates that fit that bill.  Will one of SNL's kids be the next over-seer of late-night comedy?

Tina Fey

In her favor, according to Carter?  Besides being the show's former head writer,  "she’s an absolutely brilliant comedic mind.”

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The only problem? “I know she doesn’t want to do it,” Carter admits. “I know that Tina is not interested in living her life that way.”

What, a six-day-a-week, work-through-the night-schedule isn’t doing it for you, Tina? Carter wonders if there’s still a glimmer of a chance because Fey’s kids are getting older, lessening her family obligations.  

Kenan Thompson

If one were to go by Reddit discussions or SNL article comment sections, Kenan is the obvious choice to slide over into the producer’s chair.  He’d certainly be familiar with the gig -- with nearly 20 seasons under his belt, he’s been on board for a good 40% of the show’s run.

There’s nothing he can’t do,” Lorne Michaels told Variety. “He’s one of the greatest of all time. Kenan may be a genius.”

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Enough of a genius to run the show? Seeing as Kenan doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to leave SNL, here’s a great way to extend his run by a couple of decades.

Seth Meyers

The Late Night With Seth Meyers host is “the obvious choice to me,” says Carter.

The qualifications:  

Seth is already heading a Lorne-produced show.  He was an SNL head writer.  And as for producing? “He has a mind for that kind of thing. He’s an organized guy. Very smart, smart guy and very well liked when he was the (SNL) head writer.”  Meyers is also known to be very generous to his writers and staff.

Finding someone to follow Lorne Michaels?  “That’s a really tough act,” says Carter. “(NBC) needs someone they can rely on.  I think (Meyers) would be extremely reliable.”

“The day is coming and I’m pretty sure he’ll be asked. And Lorne would obviously bless him.”

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One thing we know for sure, Lorne’s crown will be passed down. Will it be one of these three candidates? In two short seasons, we’ll find out once and for all.

For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:

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