Leslie Jones will NOT be returning for Saturday Night Live’s 45th season

Moving from writer to full cast member on Saturday Night Live catapulted her to stardom. 

But Leslie Jones is now branching off from the NBC variety show, and will not be returning for the show’s 45th season that begins September 28.

EW reported on Tuesday that the 51-year-old is instead focusing on upcoming projects and her 2020 Netflix comedy special. 

One less friendly face: Leslie Jones is now branching off from the NBC variety show, and will not be returning for the show's 45th season that begins September 28, EW reported on Tuesday

One less friendly face: Leslie Jones is now branching off from the NBC variety show, and will not be returning for the show’s 45th season that begins September 28, EW reported on Tuesday

Instead of returning the Ghostbusters actress is instead turning to her independent comedy career. 

Leslie is currently filming the Coming to America squeal, Coming 2 America, alongside Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross and Eddie Murphy. 

She announced earlier this month that she will be filming a stand-up special with the streaming giant to air next year. 

The comedian is also set to star opposite Chris Rock in the boxing drama I Am Maurice, and alongside Kristen Bell in Queenpins.  

Bigger projects: Instead of returning the Ghostbusters actress is instead turning to her independent comedy career. Leslie is currently filming the Coming to America squeal, Coming 2 America, alongside Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross and Eddie Murphy

Bigger projects: Instead of returning the Ghostbusters actress is instead turning to her independent comedy career. Leslie is currently filming the Coming to America squeal, Coming 2 America, alongside Tracy Morgan, Rick Ross and Eddie Murphy 

Special coming: She announced earlier this month that she will be filming a stand-up special with the streaming giant to air next year

Special coming: She announced earlier this month that she will be filming a stand-up special with the streaming giant to air next year 

Her hilarious features on the Weekend Update, where she often flirted with Colin Jost, often garnered controversy but she also made her a comedy staple on air. 

Leslie consistently brought an influx of charisma, relateable off-the-cuff comments and a unique perspective to her scenes on SNL. 

For her work on the show, she earned Emmy nominations for Supporting Actress in a Comedy series in 2017 and 2018 and an Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics nomination for co-writing The Upper East Side.

SNL is a time consuming show that films roughly 20 weeks of the year from late September through May, needing a week of preparation ahead of the live recordings. 

Three time nominee: For her work on the show, she earned Emmy nominations for Supporting Actress in a Comedy series in 2017 and 2018 and an Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics nomination for co-writing The Upper East Side (pictured with Cecily Strong and Emma Stone)

Three time nominee: For her work on the show, she earned Emmy nominations for Supporting Actress in a Comedy series in 2017 and 2018 and an Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics nomination for co-writing The Upper East Side (pictured with Cecily Strong and Emma Stone)

Cast: The SNL cast also currently features Keenan Thompson (Pictured), the longest tenured cast member in the show's history (16 years), Leslie seems to be the only one not returning

Cast: The SNL cast also currently features Keenan Thompson (Pictured), the longest tenured cast member in the show’s history (16 years), Leslie seems to be the only one not returning

She made her debut on the show in Spring 2014 and that fall was bumped up to a featured cast member, before joining the ensemble cast in 2015. 

At the age of 47 she became the oldest person to ever join the sketch comedy series and with her addition in 2014 made it the first time in SNL history that cast included more than one black woman.

Leslie appears to be the only cast member not returning for the upcoming season, as Kate McKinnon renewed her contract for at least one more season, though there is no word on who will replace her. 

The SNL cast also currently features Keenan Thompson, the longest tenured cast member in the show’s history (16 years), Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Colin Jost, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Cecily Strong,and Melissa Villasenor. Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim and Chris Redd are featured players.