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Cecily Strong is leaving “Saturday Night Live,” continuing the exodus of veteran “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” who have been parting ways with the venerable NBC program since last summer.

The NBC show announced that Saturday’s broadcast — expected to be “SNL”s “ last of 2022 — would also mark Strong’s final appearance as a member of the cast. She joined “Saturday Night Live” in 2012, and, since that time, has distinguished herself by playing such characters as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party and with a louche impersonation of the Fox News opinion host Judge Jeanine Pirro. During her tenure on “SNL,” Strong even did a stint as an anchor on “Weekend Update” opposite Seth Meyers, then Colin Jost.

Strong’s exit shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The actor missed several episodes this season to take part in a play — a signal that she was already entertaining other options. Kate McKinnon did something similar in the fall of 2021, the start of her last season with the program. Like her former colleague, Strong has been spotted in recent weeks in a national ad campaign from Verizon.

And yet, like many “SNL” cast members, Strong isn’t moving too far away from what has been her home base. Strong stars in the second season of “Schmigadoon!,” a parody of musicals that streams on Apple+. Like “SNL,” the show is produced by Lorne Michaels.

In addition to McKinnon, “SNL” has seen the departures of a good number of its mainstay cast from recent seasons. Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor and featured player Aristotle Athari did not return for the current cycle.

As more TV viewers migrate to streaming services to watch their favorite scripted dramas and comedies on demand, “SNL” has taken on new importance for NBC. Once relegated to airing after the late local news in a time slot network executives didn’t consider paramount, “SNL” now runs live across the U.S. all at once, meaning that it airs in primetime in certain parts of the country. That has boosted the cost of a 30-second ad on the program.

In recent seasons, Strong has struck audiences with subtle but meaningful political humor. On “Weekend Update” in 2021. she portrayed “Goober the Clown Who Had An Abortion When She Was 23” just after Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Just before the midterm elections that took place in November, Strong played on similar themes with a new character, “Tammy the Trucker,” who ostensibly talked about high gas prices, but was really making points about abortion rights.

During the “SNL” broadcast Strong made a final appearance on “Weekend Update,” playing the character Cathy Anne, who said she was there to say goodbye before she went to prison.

“Everybody has to go to jail at some point, and it’s just my time now, but I feel really lucky that I got to spend so many of the best moments of my life with these people that I love so much,” Strong said.

In the final sketch of the night, Kenan Thompson said goodbye to Strong — on her final day as a Radio Shack employee. Austin Butler, the show’s host, then serenaded her, singing “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley. Strong joined in, making it a duet. Eventually, the whole cast began singing the Presley classic, surrounding Strong as they said their goodbyes. A tearful Strong hugged many of the cast on stage.

Even as it experiences cast churn, “SNL” has recently enjoyed one of its largest groups of players, giving it a chance to develop a new generation of actors, including Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim, Mikey Day and Bowen Yang. Featured players including Sarah Sherman and James Austin Johnson have also won some notice. “SNL” has also begun relying more heavily on pre-taped segments from Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy, a trio of young writers/performers known as Please Don’t Destroy.