Saturday Night Live/Season Thirty-Two
Season Thirty-Two of Saturday Night Live premiered on September 30, 2006. It gained attention in the mainstream press due to an announcement that the cast and crew would be vastly different from that of the previous season in the greatest mass exodus since Season Twenty-Six.
After nearly a decade as head writer and later cast member, Tina Fey left to start her own sitcom, 30 Rock, and she took with her best friend Rachel Dratch. Fey's departure meant Seth Meyers was promoted to head writer and took her chair as co-anchor for Weekend Update. In addition, Lorne Michaels fired three members of the cast—Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz and Finesse Mitchell—due to budgetary reasons. However, all four former featured cast members—Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig—who had proven popular (Samberg in particular with his "digital shorts"), were promoted to official cast members, making this the first season since Season Twenty-Three to have no featured players.
In addition to Fey's departure as head writer, Beth McCarthy Miller also left her eleven-season position as director, to be replaced by Don Roy King—only the third person in history to serve in that role. This season also saw the return of former head writer Paula Pell, who left the show in season 30 in order to create a sitcom which was not picked up. She returned as the third head writer for the season alongside Meyers and Andrew Steele.
Stylistically, the series is more similar to the first six seasons of the series than it is what it had grown into throughout the mid-1990s and early 2000s. While there is no one reason for why the change has been so sweeping, the small cast size and the change in directors may have had a big part in it. Although there have been trademark recurring characters littered throughout the season, there has also been a greater focus on absurd or short recurring sketches like "MacGruder," which appeared several times throughout a single episode.
- Fred Armisen
- Will Forte
- Bill Hader
- Darrell Hammond
- Seth Meyers (Weekend Update anchor)
- Amy Poehler (Weekend Update anchor)
- Maya Rudolph
- Andy Samberg
- Jason Sudeikis
- Kenan Thompson
- Kristen Wiig
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