Monday, April 9, 2012

SNL may actually benefit from departures of Stars



"Saturday Night Live” won’t die if Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and  Jason Sudeikis  leave the cast.


As press reps for Wiig, Sudeikis and the NBC sketch-comedy show responded to an Us Weekly report that the three will be leaving the show at the end of the season, TV industry insiders told us that “SNL” could actually use an injection of fresh talent.


“They’ve been there for a while,” said one wired source, who won’t be surprised to see the three stars depart.


Wiig, who’s been with the show since 2005, has wisely parlayed her time there into a promising movie career, particularly with the breakout 2011 hit “Bridesmaids.”


“She’s got a big career,” says our source, and according to Us Weekly has been looking to leave for a while now.


That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, say some critics, who note that as the undisputably talented Wiig’s star has brightened in Hollywood, some of the more recent characters she's played on "SNL" have seemed derivative of the weirdo personas--like Gilly, Penelope and the Target Lady--that initially made her a star on “SNL.”


There also are programs when Wiig seems to be in virtually every sketch, making it difficult for other talented female cast members such as Nasim Pedrad , Abby Elliott and Vanessa Bayer to shine.


Sudeikis, who joined “SNL” in 2003, also seems to be increasingly absent from the show as his movie career and love life have taken off, too.


After turning heads in last year’s “Horrible Bosses,” he’s about to appear in “The Campaign” with “SNL” alum and comedy god Will Ferrell and opposite real-life girlfriend Olivia Wilde in the film “Relanxious.”


A spokeswoman who represents both Wiig and Sudeikis told us: “There is no truth to this rumor on both Jason and Kristen’s behalf.”


She added that criticism about the quality of Wiig and Sudeikis' work "is speculation with no truth at the core."


"Kristen and Jason are so dedicated to 'SNL' and (executive producer) Lorne Michaels that it's really sad people feel the need to try and make it negative," Caruso said. "Whether they are on the show a little or a lot --it has nothing to do with their film careers, it's the nature of a live sketch show."


As for Samberg, his departure could be the biggest blow to “SNL.”


Although his stab at movie acting has been spottier than those of Wiig and Sudeikis — see “Hot Rod” — he and his Lonely Island crew, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer , are practically an independent multimedia studio unto themselves.


The “SNL” Digital Shorts that they did for the show — such as “D— in a Box” and “Captain Jack Sparrow” — remain among the funniest and most viral segments that have run on “SNL.” Their Lonely Island albums have also been big sellers, particularly with the coveted youth demographic. Lonely Island’s last CD was even nominated for a Best Comedy Album Grammy.


The trio could easily mount their own show.


Samberg’s spokeswoman declined to comment.


A source close to “SNL” told us that “no decisions have been made” about cast changes, “and won’t be until the end of summer.”

Carson Griffith: cgriffith@nydailynews.com

Adam Caparell: acaparell@nydailynews.com