UNDATED (USA Today) -- Saturday Night Live begins its 38th season this weekend with host Seth MacFarlane, musical guest Frank Ocean and three new "featured players," as its second-tier performers are known.
The trio, all veterans of Chicago's Second City improv theater, will help fill a void left by the departures in May of major cast members Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, along with Abby Elliott.
But Jason Sudeikis, whose impression of Mitt Romney will be key in this election season, is expected to return to the show, contrary to earlier reports he might be among the departing cast members. NBC declined to comment.
The new faces are Aidy Bryant, a performer from Phoenix; Cecily Strong, raised in Oak Park, Ill., near Chicago; and Tim Robinson, originally from Detroit. All have performed at Second City, where SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels spent part of the summer recruiting new talent. Other featured players include Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Vanessa Bayer; Nasim Pedrad was promoted to regular cast member last season.