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Live from New York, it's... different actor to play Obama

Live from New York, it's... different actor to play Obama
Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 4:53pm

(CNN) -- The role of President Barack Obama will be played by a different actor this season on the comedy program "Saturday Night Live," the show's head writer said Thursday.

In an interview on NBC's "Today Show," writer Seth Meyers acknowledged that Jay Pharoah, who is in his third year on the program, would be playing the president, while the actor who has played Obama since 2008, Fred Armisen, will continue on the show.

Meyers declined to name who would play the role of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who did not have a regular profile on the show prior to his joining the Republican ticket this summer.

Jason Sudeikis, the actor who has played both Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden, is returning to "SNL" this year, Meyers acknowledged, saying it would be "a bad thing if the two of them ever had to debate each other" on the comedy show.

The show opens its 38th season on Saturday.

Meyers also said in the interview that the show team is looking forward to the series of high-profile debates between the nation's top candidates, which begin in October.

"We'll be very excited when the debates happen," he said. "It's very nice when there's something the entire country is paying attention to."

He also wished the show was running episodes, rather than on a summer hiatus, during the political conventions, which wrapped up earlier this month.

"By Saturday, I don't know what from the conventions people will still remember," he said, adding any convention references would have to be "broad strokes as opposed to about the minutiae."

One of the most mockable moments, he suggested was "when a renowned actor and director talks to an empty chair." Actor Clint Eastwood preceded Mitt Romney's introducer and acceptance address at the Republican National Convention with a speech some characterized as rambling, and which Eastwood acknowledged was inspired only shortly before he stepped onstage.

Will any shows in the eight weeks remaining before the election feature a cameo from one of the presidential candidates himself? Meyers didn't say, but did offer a spot on stage to any of the candidates.

"We would take all of the candidates, every one," he said. "Even, like, lower level comptroller, on a local level."

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