By Stephen M. Silverman
July 29, 2002 01:00 PM

“Saturday Night Live” hasn’t “sucked” in “a long time,” about five years, opines Variety, noting that the NBC program’s producer, Lorne Michaels, intends to keep the winning streak going, even with the announced departure of Will Ferrell. (Ferrell, 35, delivered a wide range of comic characters to the show over his seven years with the cast, including parodies of such diverse personalities as George W. Bush and “Jeopardy ” host Alex Trebek.) “We’re not going to be able to replace Will,” Michaels, 57 — who foresees adding “two or three people” to the cast at the start of the new season this fall — tells Variety. “(But) I don’t think we’ve ever been able to replace anyone.” As for keeping the show current, the producer says, “Events have sort of worked in our favor since the (last) election. And I think judging from this summer, both the government and the world will be on our side.” Michaels also makes clear that, even after nearly 30 years with “SNL,” he’s not ready to leave the show, nor has he changed all that much. As he points out, “I’m still wearing khakis to work in the same way I did when (the show) began.”

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