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SNL addresses diversity issue with new members

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NEW YORK -- Saturday Night Live plans to add one or two black female performers to its cast as soon as January.

A representative for the NBC sketch-comedy show on Thursday confirmed reports it's answering complaints about its lack of diversity by staging showcases to choose at least one black female cast member and to hire her within weeks.

In recent weeks, the show has seen two dozen candidates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

The New York Times reported a special audition for seven or eight finalists will be held Monday on the SNL stage in Manhattan.

It's "100 per cent good for the show to have an African-American woman" in its ranks, executive producer Lorne Michaels told the Times.

Criticism for the show's lack of diversity was spurred this fall by its only black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 G2

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