The new “voice” of “Saturday Night Live” is going to have a familiar tone.
Darrell Hammond, the versatile impressionist who held forth on the program between 1995 and 2009 – the longest tenure of any cast member on the show – will return to the venerable program as its announcer, NBC said Thursday morning. He will replace Don Pardo, the program’s longtime announcer who passed away in August.
News of the hire was reported previously by USA Today and The New York Times.
Hammond has some familiarity with his new duties. He has at times quietly substituted for Pardo when he had voice problems, according to the two outlets’ reports.
“SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels told USA Today that Hammond would not replicate Pardo’s voice, but would come up with his own take on the role. “I just knew it wouldn’t be anybody who sounded like Don or replicated him,” Michaels told the media outlet. “It can’t be what it was, but it could sort of be in the same tradition. And it will be nice to have Darrell around. He understands the show and will probably be helpful in ways we haven’t yet figured out.”
Hammond has over the years portrayed everyone from Regis Philbin and Sean Connery to Al Gore and Donald Trump. NBC is expected to confirm the news later Thursday.
Hammond it not the first former cast member to be brought back on to the show in permanent fashion. Chris Parnell was let go from the show before its new season launched in 2001, then brought back to the program in the next season.
The move is the latest to come from Michaels as he makes his usual tweaks to the program before its new season commences. He has already put comic Michael Che in the co-anchor chair at the show’s “Weekend Update” and named young comedian Pete Davidson as a featured player.
“SNL” is entering its landmark 40th season on the air.
[Updated, 7:41 a.m. PT]