The opening credits to last night's season premiere of Saturday Night Live suggested the show had lost Cecily Strong, one of its most popular performers. However, Strong is still with the show. Strong didn't appear in the opening credits or any of its sketches in Saturday's season opener, leading some to believe she had exited Saturday Night Live without a formal announcement. That's not the case. Strong is currently starring in the one-woman theatrical production of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which opened on September 28th. Strong is on hiatus from Saturday Night Live for the duration of the show's theatrical run, but it is temporary. Sources close to the situation tell The Wrap that she will return to Saturday Night Live in November.
Fans were ready to believe that another Saturday Night Live cast member had departed after a flurry of exits during the off-season. Some of the show's best-known performers left, including Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Melissa Villaseñor, and Pete Davidson.
However, there had been no news of Strong's departure, making her absence from the credits and premiere a surprise. But Strong will be back to finish her 10th year at Saturday Night Live.
Meanwhile, the season's first cold open tried to introduce by recruiting ManningCast hosts Peyton and Eli Manning (Miles Teller, Andrew Dismukes) to break down SNL's new faces. "There were a lot of changes at the show that could be exciting. Let's see what they spent the entire summer coming up with," said Teller's Peyton Manning.
John Hamm even made a surprise appearance. "Sometimes they need to bring in a real celebrity when the host isn't that famous," Hamm said, chiding Teller, who appeared in this summer's blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick. "I mean, when they couldn't get the star of the big summer movie, or your Tom Cruise or Jon Hamm, they had to get the co-star."
Saturday Night Live's premiere sketches included making fun of Nicole Kidman's AMC Theatres advertisement and a game show featuring Adam Levine and Armie Hammer. Kendrick Lamar performed as the episode's musical guest.
Saturday Night Live airs new episodes Saturday nights on NBC. Brendan Gleeson hosts next week's episode with musical guest Willow. Megan Thee Stallion will pull double duty as Saturday Night Live host and musical guest on the October 15th episode of the show.