|Country of origin United States|
Original network NBC
|No. of episodes 21|
|Original release September 15, 2012 (2012-09-15) – May 18, 2013 (2013-05-18)|
The thirty-eighth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 15, 2012 and May 18, 2013.
Also airing this season were two election-themed episodes of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, which aired on September 20, 2012 and September 27, 2012. Two months before the season premiere, original writer and occasional featured player Tom Davis died after a two-year battle with throat and neck cancer.
Before the start of the season, many cast changes occurred. Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, both cast members since 2005, decided not to return following the end of the previous season. As well, before the start of the season, Abby Elliott, who had been a cast member since 2008, was let go after four seasons on the show. Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, and Jay Pharoah were upgraded to repertory status.
To fill the void, the show hired three new cast members – Chicago improvisers Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong – as the replacements. According to the official press release, "Bryant trained at the iO Chicago, Annoyance Theatre and she was also part of the ensemble that performed on the Second City E.T.C Stage. Robinson also trained at the The Second City, he performed on their Mainstage and was also part of their National Touring Company. Like Robinson, Strong had also performed as part of the National Touring Company and trained at the iO Theater".
Longtime cast member Bill Hader, on the show since 2005, announced on May 14, 2013 that this season would be his last. In addition to Hader, this would also be the final season for Fred Armisen, who had been with the show since 2002, and for Jason Sudeikis, who had been a cast member since 2005, as well as previously writing for the show since 2003. This would also be the only season for featured player Tim Robinson, who would leave his spot in the cast to instead join the writing staff the following season.
bold denotes Weekend Update anchor
Seth Meyers and Colin Jost are the season's co-head writers. Prior to the start of the season, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater performers Josh Patten and Neil Casey joined the writing staff.
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday
The third season of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, a limited-run series based on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" sketch, has aired in conjunction with this season. The specials focused on the United States presidential election. The show was hosted by Seth Meyers, Update's then current host.