Lorne Michaels has some ideas on who could become his Saturday Night Live successor.

“It could easily be Tina Fey, but you know, there are a lot of people who are there now,” Michaels, 79, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Tuesday, January 16, hinting that there are multiple candidates who could take the reins.

Still, Michaels noted that Fey, 53, would be someone he could trust with the NBC sketch series, as she’s “brilliant” and “great” at everything she does. “She’s a very important person in my life,” he added.

Michaels co-created SNL in 1975, serving as writer, producer, and executive producer for more than 40 years with the reception of a five-year hiatus in the 1980s. Fey, meanwhile, joined the show in 1997 as a writer before being promoted to head writer two years later. In 2000, she joined the cast as co-anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment during season 26 alongside Jimmy Fallon and later Amy Poehler.

Fey ultimately exited the series in 2006 to write and star in NBC’s 30 Rock, which parodied the SNL office and was also executive-produced by Michaels.

Since her departure, Michaels and Fey have continued their working relationship. Michaels has executive produced a handful of Fey’s projects including 2004 Mean Girls, the 2024 Mean Girls movie musical and Mean Girls on Broadway.

While speaking with ET, Michaels confirmed that despite considering who may take his place in the future, he’ll remain with Saturday Night Live at least through the show’s 50th anniversary, which occurs in February 2025.

“I will definitely be there for that, and definitely be there until that,” he explained. “And sometime before that we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do.”

This isn’t the first time Michaels has opened up about possibly stepping down from his role at SNL. In 2021, he told CBS Mornings that he was  “committed to doing [SNL] until its 50th anniversary,” something that he would like to “see through.”

“I have a feeling that’d be a really good time to leave,” he continued. “But here’s the point: I won’t want the show ever to be bad. I care too deeply about it. It’s been my life’s work. So I’m gonna do everything I can to see it carry on and carry on well.”

In addition to Fey, Michaels has been known to put stock in former SNL alums over the years, who often speak of him with high praise. In September 2023, Fallon, who was part of the cast from 1998 to 2004, claimed that Michaels saved his career at NBC by convincing the network to hire him as Conan O’Brien’s Late Night successor. When Pete Davidson exited the show in 2022, he thanked Michaels for “always believing” in him, noting that he owed the TV producer “his life.”

“I think [the impact of SNL really, for the first time, really hit me on the 40th anniversary,” Michaels told CBS Mornings in 2021. “Just seeing all the generations of the show — you can’t put anyone in the cast that you don’t have complete faith in. You may not know how it’ll turn out, but you want that decision to have been pure of heart.”

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