Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s ‘SNL’ Nabs Season’s Highest Ratings

It’s also the top-rated episode for the NBC sketch show since the Jan. 2012 episode hosted by Charles Barkley with Kelly Clarkson

The pairing of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake (with a surprise appearance by Madonna) was a winning combination for NBC’s “SNL” fans on Saturday.

The episode averaged a 6.3 rating/16 share in household results in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets– a very early ratings measurement.

That sets the episode on track to not only be “SNL’s” highest rated this season, but also the top-rated “SNL” since the Jan. 7, 2012 episode hosted by Charles Barkley with musical guest Kelly Clarkson (7.0/18 in metered-market households), which benefited from a primetime NFL overrun.

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In comparison, Lady Gaga’s “SNL” hosting/performance stint on Nov. 16 earned a 4.9 rating/12 share in the 56 metered market households. That number matched the Kerry Washington/Eminem episode and beats Miley Cyrus’ showing, which got a 4.5 rating. Those episodes also matched Timberlake’s episode from March.

Additionally, “SNL” can claim the No. 1 spot of the night against ABC, CBS, and Fox in metered-market households. It topped all primetime programming on the broadcast networks in the early measurements.

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National rankings, including viewer totals, will arrive from Nielsen later this week.