Inside ‘SNL’ Ratings Surge: Here’s How – and When – People Are Watching This Season

“Saturday Night Live” is cashing in on President Trump and social media buzz for its best Nielsen numbers since Chris Farley days

“Saturday Night Live” is enjoying its most-watched season in decades, and the show has millions of people not named “Trump” to thank for that.

The 42-year-old NBC sketch comedy staple is as buzzy as ever, and the subsequent social media attention is really driving delayed viewership skyward. While “SNL’s” live tune-in has grown double digits this season, it’s the later stuff that really has Lorne Michaels’ cast cashing in.

In Nielsen’s Live + Same Day TV ratings, “SNL” is up 13 percent year over year in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, and up 17 percent among overall viewers. And it’s just getting warmed up by then.

That’s because those numbers soar 22 percent and 26 percent, respectively, above the 2015-2016 season with the benefit of 72-hours worth of delayed viewing. They stay right around those impressive levels with a week of delayed watching.

Growing from last year’s 8.769 million total viewers to this year’s 11.022 million in Nielsen’s Live + 7 Day metric, “Saturday Night Live” is enjoying its most-watched season in 24 years. Here’s how long that actually is: Back then, Chris Farley, Norm Macdonald and Adam Sandler still starred on the show.

To-date in the key demo, “SNL” is having its best run in eight years. That’s not too shabby either. The CW’s “MADtv” reboot is probably wondering exactly how this could be happening. So are executives everywhere.

For starters, President Trump has changed everything — that’s undeniable. “SNL” Season 42 started with jokes about a far-fetched presidency for the former “Celebrity Apprentice” host. Then Nov. 8 happened, and s–t got real.

Since then, the show’s investment in Alec Baldwin as Trump has pretty much won TV. Throw-in Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer, and the late-night show has won Monday morning’s water-cooler chatter. Without Jon Stewart to turn to, Democrats have found their satire weekly Saturdays at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC. It’s, basically, the same phenomenon that has recently rewarded Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on competitor CBS.

Those that aren’t willing to dedicate precious weekend time to the cause are clearly being convinced to catch-up on “SNL” later, likely after they heard about a must-watch skit or two. Check out the full host of Nielsen stats below.

Live + Same Day, Adults 18-49
Season 41: 1.98
Season 42: 2.24
Difference: +13%

Live + Same Day, Total Viewers
Season 41: 6.509 million
Season 42: 7.617 million
Difference: +17%

Live + 3 Days, Adults 18-49
Season 41: 2.81
Season 42: 3.43
Difference: +22%

Live + 3 Days, Total Viewers
Season 41: 8.494 million
Season 42: 10.694 million
Difference: +26%

Live + 7 Days, Adults 18-49
Season 41: 2.94
Season 42: 3.57
Difference: +21%

Live + 7 Days, Total Viewers
Season 41: 8.769 million
Season 42: 11.022 million
Difference +26%

“Saturday Night Live” returns tomorrow night with an original episode hosted by Octavia Spencer.