Update 8:45 a.m. ET 9/3/2019: Leslie Jones confirmed her exit from Saturday Night Liveon Tuesday. In a series of tweets, Jones thanked NBC, the producers, the writers, and the crew for making SNL her "second home" and expressed her gratitude to creator and producer Lorne Michaels for changing her life. "You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you," she wrote.
The actress and comedian also singled out her co-stars on the series. "I will miss holding it down with Kenan [Thompson] everyday," wrote Jones. "I will miss Cecily [Strong]'s impression of me making me laugh at myself often, I will miss Kate [McKinnon]'s loving hugs and talks when I needed. And of course Colin [Jost], you porcelain-skinned Ken doll."
She concluded, "Everyone needs to know Leslie Jones couldn't have done any of the things I did without these people. One last thing - to the fans - you are the BEST!! Thank you for all the love and support through my SNL years and I know you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the amazing projects and adventures that I have coming up very soon! Love you all!!"
Jones wrapped up with a hashtag that asserts she's "not dead, just graduating."
Update 9:10 p.m. ET 8/27/2019: One of Leslie Jones' first post-Saturday Night Live gigs is apparently hosting a reboot of the old-school game show Supermarket Sweep. Deadline reports that among the many projects she's now working on is an updated version of the grocery store shopping show, where contestants race around a supermarket filling their carts with the highest dollar value in groceries they can grab within a time limit. Jones is said to have championed the reboot, produced by the Fremantle company that produces American Idol, among its many other properties.
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Jones first joined SNL in 2013 as a writer and appeared on screen for the first time in a May 2014 "Weekend Update" segment. By the fall of 2014, Jones joined the cast as a featured player, marking her as the oldest person ever to join the show as a cast member (she was 47 at the time). She was promoted to repertory player in Season 42 and has become one of the biggest breakout stars from the show in recent years. During Jones' five years with SNL, she's been nominated for two Emmy Awards, in 2017 and 2018, and is nominated for co-writing the lyrics to the song "Upper East Side" this year. Her popularity on the series helped open up more career opportunities for her, including a starring role in the Ghostbusters movie, a gig as an Olympic commentator for NBC Sports, an upcoming Netflix comedy special, and a role in the anticipated Coming to America sequel.
Jones' exit is a huge shock for Saturday Night Live fans -- particularly because people were so busy expecting Kate McKinnon to announce her exit that no one considered Jones might be leaving instead. But while Jones is leaving, McKinnon has opted to return to SNL this season, alongside Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, and Cecily Strong.