Producer Lorne Michaels, who’s supervized production since the series began, has suggested he’s considering retiring at that point, noting that he’ll be 80 years old in November 2025.
In a recent interview on the Hell of a Week podcast (via Deadline), Thompson was asked about Micheals’ comments. “Is that the rumor?” he responded. “All right, I need to start planning!” He continued: “There could be a lot of validity to that rumor, because 50 is a good number to stop at. That’s an incredible package. He will be … close to 80 years old at that point, and, you know, he’s the one who’s had his touch on the whole thing.”
He offered another argument: “[I]f somebody tries to come into his shoes, you know, it’s a good opportunity for NBC to save money as well, you know what I’m saying? [The network] might slash the budget, and then at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show. So that’s unfair to watch it just really go down kind of in flames for real because of those restrictions … Capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea.”
Thompson said Michaels’ status meant he’d been able to “keep off those corporate wolves, if you will,” continuing: “They spend a lot of money on that show every week. It’s an expensive show, but it’s a one-of-a-kind thing.”
Michaels told CBS News in 2021 that he felt “committed” to continuing with SNL until it reached the milestone anniversary, describing the close of that season as “a really good time” to move on. He said he’d do everything in his power to keep the production going afterwards but added: “I won’t want the show ever to be bad. I care too deeply about it. It’s been my life’s work.”