Leslie Jones Leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’ Ahead of Season 45

Saturday Night Live - Season 44
Rosalind O'Connor/NBC

Saturday Night Live is losing one of its cast members before its new season — and it’s not one fans expected.

Leslie Jones will not be returning to the late-night sketch comedy series for its 45th season, Entertainment Weekly reports. She has appeared on the show since spring 2014, in Season 39, and became a featured player the following season.

Jones has received three Primetime Emmy nominations for her work on SNL, as an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2017 and 2018, and for Original Music and Lyrics for the song, “The Upper East Side,” from the episode featuring James McAvoy as host and Meek Mill as the musical guest.

She has reportedly left to “focus on her burgeoning film career.” She has starred in Ghostbusters and voiced a character in The Angry Birds Movie 2, and she has roles in the upcoming Coming 2 America, Queenpins, and I Am Maurice. She also has a comedy special coming to Netflix in 2020.

Though some thought Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon might be leaving the NBC sketch series, they will both be part of the cast for Season 45.

The new season begins with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish. Other hosts and musical guests already announced for the season include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, David Harbour, Kristen Stewart, Eddie Murphy, Taylor Swift, and Camila Cabello.

Saturday Night Live, Season 45 Premiere, Saturday, September 28, 11:30/10:30c, NBC