The Buzz Around Tina Fey Taking Over ‘SNL’ Is Growing

But is it a job doomed to failure?
The Buzz Around Tina Fey Taking Over ‘SNL’ Is Growing

Lorne Michaels, also known as The Man Who Will Never Retire, has to hang up his Saturday Night Live spurs eventually. The 78-year-old swings back and forth, saying in one interview that “I have no plans to retire” and in another that he’s likely moving on after the show’s 50th anniversary in two years: “I’d like to see that through and I have a feeling that would be a really good time to leave.”

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Cracked has speculated about who could take over when Michaels finally rides off into the sunset. Seth Meyers seemed like a good bet, a former SNL head writer with experience running his own show. But he took himself out of the running just last month. “To hear my name in this conversation is another thing that’s so lovely and flattering,” Meyers told Deadline. “With that said, it is not a job for me.”

Kenan Thompson nominated himself in May on an episode of the Fly on the Wall podcast. “Why not? It will keep me in New York, it will keep me in a stable environment, which is hard for an actor,” Thompson told Dana Carvey and David Spade. “Write it down! Put it in the universe.”

But it looks like the universe might have other plans. According to The New York Post, Tina Fey is being wined and dined in an effort to convince her to become SNL’s next executive producer. (An NBC spokesperson has denied the rumors, as NBC spokespeople do.) The New York Post isn’t revealing its source, but the news isn’t exactly a surprise — like Meyers, Fey is a former head writer of the show and like Meyers, her name often comes up when people play the SNL succession game. Fey knows how the SNL sausage gets made, says Thompson, acknowledging her successful run on the show.

“I would be surprised if it wasn’t her,” says another of the Post’s anonymous sources. “Seth Meyers has his own show. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg won’t come here. Judd Apatow passed (on the job) years ago. Amy Poehler has her own stuff. Bill Hader is directing a movie. Kate McKinnon is too hot.” 

But it’s not like Fey doesn’t have other options. She’s arguably had one of the brightest post-SNL careers of any of the show’s alumni, creating 30 Rock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Girls5Eva, as well as the movie and Broadway versions of Mean Girls. The impressive resume makes Fey extremely qualified for the job — and gives her the leverage to walk away. 

Could turning it down be her best strategy? Meyers thinks so. “Whoever goes after the person who replaces in there, that’s the job,” he says. “They should do a favor and just go to and hire somebody with no background in TV. Let them do it for six months and have the entertainment press fucking put them on a spit. Tell that person coming in that you’re just here to take the heat and you’ll get a golden parachute. They should get someone’s who not in TV because after they’ll never work in TV again.”

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