Just one day after announcing that newcomer cast member Brooks Wheelan would not be returning to Saturday Night Live next season, NBC has made even more cuts to the weekly sketch comedy — and, like Wheelan, both are new hires as well. According to Deadline, Saturday Night Live has dropped Noël Wells and John Milhiser in addition to Wheelan, and more cuts to the cast may be coming soon.
Both Wells and Milhiser were hired at the same time as Wheelan to accomodate a major cast shift in the series last year when major players like Seth Meyers, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader all left to pursue other projects. In addition to Wells, Milhiser, and Wheelan, comedians Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett were brought onto the series, as well as longtime staff writer Michael Patrick O'Brien and, mid-season, Sasheer Zamata. It's not clear where Mooney, Bennett, and Zamata stand (though I'm confident at least Zamata is safe), Deadline added that O'Brien's presence on the show may be pushed back to staff writer, or he may leave altogether.
While it's certainly a bummer for Wells and Milhiser to be cut from the show after just one season under their belt, it's not exactly surprising: The first year for cast members is usually considered more of a trial period than anything else, and it's common for newbies to be cut if the network brass isn't completely impressed. It's also not a career death sentence — Robert Downey Jr., Billy Crystal, and Jenny Slate were all fired from SNL, and they're all still major presences in pop culture.
Anyway, with the new vacancies open in the cast for next season, it's probable that we'll be hearing about new hires soon enough. And, hopefully this time, they'll consider someone other than a white dude!