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Comedian Bill Hader to leave NBC's 'Saturday Night Live'

Cast member Bill Hader poses at the premiere of "Paul" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mar
Cast member Bill Hader poses at the premiere of "Paul" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mar

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Saturday Night Live" star Bill Hader will be leaving the U.S. late night sketch comedy show following its upcoming season finale, the comedian's publicist said on Tuesday.

Hader, an eight-year veteran of the NBC show, is best known for his impressions of smug game show hosts, actor Al Pacino and Stefon, a gay TV journalist known for recommending over-the-top night clubs on the show's longtime "Weekend Update" segment.

The actor first told the New York Times he was leaving "Saturday Night Live."

"It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point," Hader told the newspaper. "It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it's just time to go.'"

Hader, 34, joins a recent stream of top talent to depart the show, which will finish its 38th season on Saturday. Popular mainstays Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg departed last year to focus on film work.

NBC announced last week that series veteran Seth Meyers, anchor of the show's "Weekend Update" news segment, will be the new host of the network's late night talk show in 2014, "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

Currently, comedian Jimmy Fallon hosts the late night slot, but he will be taking over from Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" next year.

Leaving the New York-taped "Saturday Night Live" has been a rite of passage into Hollywood for many of the show's former stars, including Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd and Mike Myers.

Hader, who is married to filmmaker Maggie Carey, told the New York Times he wanted to move his family to Los Angeles.

NBC is owned by Comcast Corp.

(This version of story removes the word "weekly" in paragraph 6)

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jackie Frank)

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