NBC confirmed the cast for season 47, which added three new actors as featured players.
Less than a week before Saturday Night Live returns to NBC, the network officially confirmed the cast for season 47. Most notably, Beck Bennett is leaving after eight years on the long-running sketch series as Chole Fineman and Emmy nominee Bowen Yang get promoted to the main cast.
Additionally, Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman have also been named as the series’ newest cast members while Lauren Holt, who made her debut as a featured player last season, is not returning.
This year’s ensemble now includes Fineman, Yang as well as Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, and Melissa Villaseñor with Athari, Johnson, and Sherman joining returning featured players Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson.
After last season’s finale, many speculated that longtime cast members Bryant, Davidson, McKinnon, Strong and Thompson were all set to depart.
Over the summer, Strong addressed her future, telling ET she felt good either way. “I’ll be thrilled if I go back, I’ll be thrilled if that was my last show,” she said at the time, adding, “My lesson from last year is sort of see what happens.”
Thompson, meanwhile, confirmed to ET he was returning ahead of the 73rd Primetime Emmys.
Bennett’s departure, however, is a bit more of a surprise since he wasn’t among those expected to leave. Over the years, he famously portrayed Mike Pence, Jake Tapper and Vladimir Putin.
“Love you, SNL. Gonna miss you so much. Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life. I had so much fun,” he posted to Instagram following the announcement.
SNL premieres on Oct. 2 with host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves.