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Saturday Night Live to Add Black Female Castmember Following Barrage of Criticism

SNL Instagram

Behold the power of the Internet: It looks like Saturday Night Live is going to add a black female castmember in the new year.

Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times that the show will add its first black female castmember since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007.

"All told we've seen about 25 people," Michaels said. "A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we'll come out of the process well."

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 News of SNL's search for a new castmember broke when Simone Shepherd took to Instagram to share a photo of her and fellow comedians at an audition for SNL.

"The hilarious BLACK women who just rock the SNL audition. #WeJustMadeHistory ME @gabrielle_dennis @breshawebb @tiffanyhaddish @nicolebyer @amberruffin @darmirrabrunson @mistymonroe @lekendratookes @aziedungey @bethpayne," she wrote.

Michaels said the show could add as many as two performers. The series came under fire when it added six new cast members this fallBeck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Noël Wells and Brooks Wheelan—all of them white. Criticism of the show took off and the show addressed it during its fifth episode when Scandal star Kerry Washington hosted. In the cold open, Washington played several black female characters including Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.

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The Times reports SNL saw about a dozen potential castmembers in Los Angeles and Michaels saw another dozen in New York and Michaels acknowledged it was "100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman" as part of the cast.

A source confirmed The New York Times' original report.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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