It’s a big promotion for a second-year “Saturday Night Live” cast member. Cecily Strong has been tapped to co-anchor the “Weekend Update” segment with Seth Meyers.
Meyers is departing his full-time work on “SNL” in February to take over NBC’s “Late Night” from Jimmy Fallon. Ever since that news broke in April, there’s been speculation about who would get the plum “Weekend Update” anchor gig.
“SNL” producer Lorne Michaels intends to have Strong co-host with Meyers at the start of the season, and possibly go solo after Meyers exits. In an interview with the New York Times, Michaels also left open the possibility that Meyers could remain co-anchor of “Weekend Update” even after he leaves his other duties on the show (where he is head writer) to focus on “Late Night.”
Michaels said Strong was a natural choice after she logged an impressive first year on the show in the 2012-13 season.
“Cecily, from the first show, was right there,” Michaels told the Times. “She exploded.”
Strong made several appearances on “Weekend Update” last year with characters such as Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party. She has little TV experience beyond “SNL,” other than serving as vocal talent for the Hulu animated series “The Awesomes,” created and exec produced by Meyers and Mike Shoemaker (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”).
Strong will join the “Weekend Update” desk as of “SNL’s” premiere on Sept. 28. The anchor gig on one of “SNL’s” most enduring segments has been a big career springboard for “SNL” troupers in recent years, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Fallon.
News of Strong’s move caps one of the busiest off-seasons ever for Michaels’ 39-year-old sketch comedy series. “SNL” cast members Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen left the series in May, making room for newcomers Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Noël Wells, Kyle Mooney and Brooks Wheelan, all of whom will join the cast this season.
Fey will host the SNL season premiere on Sept. 28.