Darrell Hammond is the new voice of "Saturday Night Live." The former cast member will take over the announcer role Don Pardo had occupied since the show started in 1975. Pardo passed away in August at the age of 96.
"I sat in for Don when he had laryngitis several times over the years," Hammond told USA Today. "He was a lovely person. When he passed, they wanted me; it felt right for me to be the one to replace him. It's been a very improbable life; I didn't expect something like this, but it feels real good."
Hammond was a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" for 14 years, from 1995-2009. He's the longest-serving cast member.
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Don't expect Hammond to just channel Pardo with an impression. Executive producer and creator Lorne Michaels said they'll do something different come the season 40 premiere.
"There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow," Michaels told The New York Times. "Because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he's a completely beloved figure. So I thought: Don't turn this into something else. That period ended."
"Saturday Night Live" returns with new episodes on Saturday, Sept. 27 and along with new sketches come new cast members. Michael Che and Pete Davidson will appear alongside returning faces Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Vanessa Bayer, Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, Beck Bennett, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, Sasheer Zamata and Kenan Thompson. Che will sit opposite Jost at the Weekend Update desk.
Season 40 kicks off with guest host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande. The week after Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5 take the stage. Bill Hader returns to the stage to host on Oct. 11.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)