Leslie Jones is leaving “Saturday Night Live” after five seasons, TheWrap has learned.
Jones, who has been on the longrunning late-night series since 2014, will not return when the show returns for its 45th season, an individual with knowledge of her decision tells TheWrap. The individual added that longtime cast member Kate McKinnon will be back for her eighth season.
Jones first joined the series as a writer and was added to the cast during its 40th season, following a few well-received turns on “Weekend Update.” Jones isn’t the only person leaving this season. Alec Baldwin, who is not part of the cast, had previously said he will not return as President Donald Trump this season.
Jones is set to appear in the sequel to “Coming 2 America,” where she plays the sister to Tracy Morgan’s hustler Reem, who gives birth to the unwitting heir of Prince Akeem’s (Eddie Murphy) throne following a one-night stand. She recently voiced the character of Zeta in “Angry Birds 2” which was released earlier this month. Jones has also booked her first stand-up special for Netflix, which will stream in 2020.
“SNL” will return for its 45th season on Sept. 28 with Woody Harrelson hosting and Billie Eilish as the musical guest. “Fleabag” star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will host after Harrelson, with Taylor Swift, whose latest album “Lover” debuted last week, as the musical guest.
In December, Murphy will make his long-awaited return — he briefly appeared during “SNL’s” 40th-anniversary special in 2015 — as host for an episode in December. Other hosts announced thus far include “Stranger Things” star David Harbour and “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart.