Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Darrell Hammond will return to the late-night comedy show as successor to the late Don Pardo, its storied announcer from the 1975 premiere through 2013.
Hammond, 58 -- who had been the show's longest-running cast member, with 14 seasons from 1995 to 2009 -- will begin his announcing duties on Sept. 27, the 40th-season premiere, NBC said Thursday.
"I just knew it wouldn't be anybody who sounded like Don or replicated him," series creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told USA Today. "It can't be what it was, but it could sort of be in the same tradition. And it will be nice to have Darrell around. He understands the show and will probably be helpful in ways we haven't yet figured out."
During his tenure, Hammond, uncredited, had filled in for Pardo on a half-dozen occasions when the legendary announcer, who died in August at age 96, was ill. "I felt a little weird about it," Hammond told The Associated Press Thursday. "I didn't feel good about it. I didn't want Don to feel that he could be replaced, because he can't be."
Pardo was with the show from its Oct. 11, 1975, premiere through last season. When he could no longer continue to fly in weekly from Arizona, where he had retired, he began recording his announcements from home.
Hammond rehearsed for three hours Thursday, he told the AP. He characterized his announcing style as "Don, but it's not Don. It's Pardoesque but it's not Don Pardo."