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Leslie Jones has left ‘SNL’ while Kate McKinnon stays put

Jones’ departure after five years on the show is said to be her own decision.

Leslie Jones on “Saturday Night Live.”
NBC

A prominent woman in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” is leaving the show, but it’s not the one people expected.

Though “SNL” watchers had been speculating that this would be the end for Kate McKinnon, it’s actually Leslie Jones heading out the door at Studio 8H.

Trade reports say it was Jones’ decision to go. After five strong seasons in the “SNL” cast and prominent roles in films including “Ghostbusters” and “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” she is poised for an even higher profile in 2020 with a Netflix stand-up special and a part in the “Coming to America” sequel.

She’s also set to host and produce an updated version of the game show “Supermarket Sweep,” Deadline reported Tuesday.

Jones was hired initially as a writer and was promoted to cast member in 2014 after a controversial but well-received appearance on Weekend Update.

As for McKinnon, she has had her own big-screen vehicles (most recently “Yesterday” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me”) and reportedly was a free agent after her seven-year contract expired in May. A two-time Emmy winner for her “SNL” work and the show’s Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, she debuted a Marianne Williamson impersonation in June on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and will be an asset as the political satire escalates on the way toward next year’s election.