Saturday Night Live: Seeking African-American Cast Member

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Saturday Night Live hears the criticism. And it's finally doing something about it.

Following the exodus of Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen following last season, the long-running sketch comedy hired six new cast members, all of whom have something in common:

They're white.

This led to a number of diversity complaints, considering the show actually employees a grand total of zero African-American performers, something it mocked when Kerry Washington (Scandal) hosted in November.

But insiders now confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that NBC held showcases in Los Angeles and New York this month in order to hire an African-American female.

One is expected to debut as early as January.

Overall, there are three people of color (Kennan Thompson, Jay Pharaoh and Nasim Pedrad) in the show's 16-person cast and SNL has only ever had four African-American women on stage:

Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007).

But Thompson recently said this was less a reflection of producer Lorne Michaels and more of simply finding the right individual.

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson told TV Guide of the show's diversity issues. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

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