Season 46’s finale of Saturday Night Live in May hinted at a bleak possibility for fans of the sketch comedy series: the possible departure of longtime cast members Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson. The stars delivered reflective monologues about the past year, seemingly teasing that the end is nigh.

“COVID has been tough for many, but has been very tough for SNL,” a source told HL. “The usual auditions and seeing people in comedy clubs for Lorne to [determine] if anyone would be good for the show has had some interesting stumbling blocks, so as next season returns, Lorne has told all the cast from last year that he would like for them all to return.” Our source said, “He has started to offer the contracts.”

The insider added that both Lorne and NBC are hopeful that “everyone will return for at least one more year,” including Cecily, Kenan, Pete, and “the whole gang.” If it were up to Lorne, the source added, “things would stay the same.” Of course, that won’t always remain plausible, “because when people want to leave, they will leave.”