Each August typically brings with it news of changes in the cast at “Saturday Night Live.” This month instead brings a development related to one of the more prominent people behind the scenes of the NBC show.
Lindsay Shookus, one of the top producers at “SNL” who has played a strong role in booking guests and dealing with talent issues, is leaving the program. In a post on Instagram Friday, Shookus revealed her intent to depart.
“After 20 seasons at ‘Saturday Night Live’ (and 415 live shows — I counted!), I have decided to trade in the wild late night life and move on from the show,” she said in her post. “When I started in 2002, I was a baby from Buffalo, N.Y., who didn’t know anything about the business, except that I so badly wanted to be somehow part of it. I found my place at ‘SNL’ and I’ve spent the past two decades developing the most incredible friendships and memories alongside some truly brilliant and talented people.”
Shookus rose to become one of the top producers at “SNL,” alongside Steve Higgins, Erik Kenward and Erin Doyle. She also participated in some special projects for Lorne Michaels, the series’ executive producer, such as a New Year’s Eve special for NBC last year that featured Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson. Shookus leaves as the show is going through one of its usual talent transitions. Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney, all veteran cast, departed at the end of last season, the show’s 47th. Some observers remain curious as to whether another longtime cast member, Cecily Strong, intends to stay for another cycle.
As “SNL” moves toward the end of its first half-century on air — its 50th season is slated to start in the fall of 2024 — some longtime members of its behind-the-scenes staff are taking a step back. Ken Aymong, a key producer who helped maintain the business of the venerable late-night program for more than three decades, left last year, as did Don Roy King, a veteran “SNL” director who guided the show since 2006.
In her post, Shookus thanked Michaels for the opportunity to work at “SNL.” “I will be forever grateful to Lorne for this once in a lifetime opportunity…thank you for your support, encouragement and freedom to bring my voice to this legendary stage.”
Her show-business future, Shookus said, remains uncertain at present. “I don’t know exactly what else the future holds for me, but I’m a big believer in letting the universe unveil itself to you, and allowing that goodness in. It may not be perfectly written yet, but I know I’m headed someplace good. And I can’t wait to share it.” The 48th season of “SNL” is expected to start in the fall.