Conan O’Brien ‘Not Buying’ Lorne Michaels Retirement Talk

It’s the question everyone loves asking: Will Lorne Michaels actually retire after SNL’s milestone 50th season next year?

The Saturday Night Live creator and longtime EP has hinted as much, but add Conan O’Brien to the list of doubters.

“If you took an X-ray of Lorne Michaels, you would see SNL in his bone marrow,” O’Brien tells the Hollywood Reporter in a new interview. “I just don’t see it happening. And I don’t think anyone’s anxious for him to go anywhere.”

“When Franklin Roosevelt died suddenly in April of 1945, he’d been president for 13 years,” O’Brien continued. “There was a whole generation that only knew him. Lorne is the FDR of comedy. Retiring to his blueberry farm? I’m not buying it.”

O’Brien, of course, isn’t a mere bystander. He worked Michaels with for 23 years–first as a writer on SNL and then on Late Night With Conan O’Brien (which Michaels executive produced)–and he maintains a friendship with the SNL creator to this day.

Michaels first turned heads in 2021 when told CBS Mornings that the show’s 50th anniversary would “be a really good time to leave.” He’s since said that he hasn’t made up his mind either way.

For what it’s worth, O’Brien’s successor at NBC’s Late Night franchise agrees with him. In several recent interviews, Seth Meyers has poured cold water on talk that he’d be in the running to replace Michaels were he to step down.

“I wish FanDuel had odds for ‘Will Lorne Michaels be in charge on the 55th,’ Meyers said in February. “I would bet the house that Lorne will still be running that place in five years. That is the most appropriate outcome that makes the most sense to me.”

Conan O’Brien has been keeping plenty busy following his own late-night retirement.  In 2022, Sirius XM bought his podcast network for a reported $150 million and signed O’Brien himself to a five-year contract. His flagship podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is said to command upwards of 9 million downloads a month. He’s currently making the rounds promoting his new streaming series Conan O’Brien Must Go, which premieres April 18th on Max.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.