Just days after announcing that Chris Pratt is hosting the Season 40 Premiere of NBC's Saturday Night Live, the show has brought back Michael Che to co-host Weekend Update alongside Colin Jost. The move marks the first time in the show's history that Weekend Update will have two male anchors, and Michael Che is the first ever African-American Update anchor.
Michael Che is replacing Cecily Strong, who will remain on the show as a regular cast member. Creator/executive producer Lorne Michaels revealed that they tried out, "a number of different combinations" of anchors over the past few weeks, before deciding on Michael Che, who served as a writer on the show last season before leaving to join Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Here's what Lorne Michaels had to say about about Michael Che, who formed a close relationship with head writer and Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost last season.
"Michael is a strong writer, and he's really funny. It's always difficult to make changes and make 'Update' different from what's gone before."
Cecily Strong started out Season 39 anchoring Weekend Update alongside Seth Meyers, before he left to take over as host on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Colin Jost took his place midway through the season.
Lorne Michaels added that Weekend Update struggled to find an identity with the anchor changes last season.
"It struggled to find an identity last season. Because what had come before had been pretty brilliant. This is about a new era, what feels appropriate for now. That's why we did a lot of combinations and tests, and this is kind of where we came out."
The executive producer also revealed he has full confidence in Cecily Strong, who will appear in more sketches this season, which the actress had asked for. Lorne Michaels also added that he will be making one or two more additions to the cast, but he hasn't decided who will come on board yet.
We reported in April that Saturday Night Live is planning a 40th Anniversary special in February, and to get fans ready for that three-hour event, the show is trying something different in the Saturday 10 PM block. NBC normally airs the previous week's show at 10 PM, before the new episode airs, but this season, Lorne Michaels revealed they will be airing one episode from each of the past 39 seasons, although they will be condensed down to 60 minutes. The musical guests for each show will still be included.
"I thought the rerunning of the previous week's show was sort of taking away from the fun of waiting for the show. Generally we go with the one we nominated for an Emmy. It shows you that era and what was happening then."