Fall TV Preview

Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah to Replace Fred Armisen as President Obama

SNL ObamaElection Day isn’t for another two months, but Saturday Night Live has already chosen a new man to sit in the Oval Office.

Jay Pharoah will replace Fred Armisen as President Obama in the sketch comedy show’s upcoming Season 38, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times Wednesday.

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Armisen has played the Commander-in-Chief since 2008. Michaels told the newspaper that in an effort to “shake it up,” newer cast member Pharoah – who’s made a name for himself with dead-on impersonations of Jay-Z, Chris Rock and Denzel Washington, among others – would take the part as election season heats up.

Jason Sudekis, who is definitely staying with the show for the foreseeable future, will continue to play both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden. Taran Killam will likely take on the part of Romney running mate Paul Ryan.

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The presidential switcheroo is the latest cast move in a year that’s seen a changing of the Not Ready for Primetime guard. Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott departed after last season’s finale, and Second City grads Tim Robinson, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant joined the cast earlier this week.

Pharoah will likely debut his version of the leader of the free world when SNL returns to NBC this Saturday, Sept. 15 with host Seth McFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean.