Saturday Night Live aired its twenty-sixth season during the 2000–2001 television season on NBC. 20 episodes were produced. The season began on October 7, 2000 and ended on May 19, 2001. Before the start of the season Cheri Oteri, Colin Quinn, and Tim Meadows left the show. With the three of them gone, the show added two new castmembers. SNL head writer Tina Fey and Second City comedian Jerry Minor joined the cast as featured players at the start of the season. Fey had been a writer on the show since 1997 and began as the show's head writer in 1999. Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph remained featured players. This would be Molly Shannon's final season on the show, leaving mid-season. Chris Parnell and Jerry Minor were both let go after this season ended. However, Chris Parnell would be re-hired midway through the next season. Michaels would later admit he made a mistake in firing Parnell from the cast and wanted him back. With Colin Quinn's seat on Weekend Update empty, executive producer Lorne Michaels decided to have two anchors just as SNL had had in the 1970s. Jimmy Fallon and head writer Tina Fey were brought up to anchor the segment together. Because of Fey's head writer status she would appear rarely out of Weekend Update.