Well, that was fast!
Saturday Night Live alums Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah have landed coveted new TV gigs, days after both were let go from NBC’s late-night staple. Both will star in Showtime projects.
Showtime President and CEO David Nevins addressed Killam and Pharoah’s castings for the two comedies, alluding to the fact that discussions with the actors had been ongoing for a while.
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“Our conversations had been with the actors,” Nevins told reporters at summer Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday. “It’s been happening over the last several weeks -- probably over a month -- individually. We were prepared to work around their SNL schedules. Our schedule got easier when they ended up getting released from the show.”
Killam will lead the new comedy anthology pilot, Mating, which centers on a recently-divorced guy who married young and now finds himself completely unprepared for the brave new, frank and fluid world of dating and hooking up.
Meanwhile, Pharoah has been cast in the lead role in the new half-hour comedy pilot, White Famous, produced by Jamie Foxx. The project follows a talented, young African-American comedian, Floyd Money (Pharoah), whose star is rising, forcing him to navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining his credibility as he begins to cross over towards becoming “white famous.”
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Earlier this week, NBC confirmed to ET that Killam and Pharoah would not be returning to SNL for season 42. After the news broke, Killam spoke to Uproxx about his abrupt departure, admitting, “I don’t know fully [what happened]. I don’t know the other side of it.”
“You sign for seven years, so I had one more year,” he said. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really. I can assume until the cows come home.”
Following his exit, Pharoah shared an Instagram photo of himself with Killam and SNL castmember Vanessa Bayer with the caption, “My fam for life,” accompanied by several smiley face emojis.