First Post-Strike ‘SNL’ Scores 4.8 Million Viewers, Up 19% From 2022 Premiere

The late-night show’s Season 49 debut, hosted by Pete Davidson, marked its highest launch on Peacock

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Host Pete Davidson during the monologue the Season 49 premiere of "Saturday Night Live." (Will Heath/NBC)

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The first episode of “Saturday Night Live” since the onset of the writers’ strike in May scored 4.8 million viewers, up 19% from last season’s 2022 premiere.

As viewers tuned in to watch “SNL” alum Pete Davidson return to host the NBC late-night sketch show, the Season 49 premiere telecast also secured a 0.96 demo rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day figures, marking a 31% rise in demo viewers as compared to the Season 48 premiere and the best season premiere demo performance since 2020.

On Peacock, where “SNL” also streams live coast-to-coast, the Season 49 launch became the most-watched “SNL” season premiere on the streamer as it more than doubled the Season 48 premiere. The episode, which featured Ice Spice as the musical guest, also marked the third highest “SNL” viewership on Peacock in one day of viewing, behind the Dave Chappelle-hosted telecast on Nov. 12, 2022, and the Pedro Pascal-hosted episode on Feb. 4, 2023.

As the Season 49 premiere featured surprise guest appearances from Taylor Swift, who introduced her “Karma” collaborator Ice Spice to the stage, and NFL star Travis Kelce, the episode drew in buzz across social media, totaling to 1.2 million social media interactions. The episode’s social media engagement marked the highest interactions since Swift was the musical guest for the Nov. 13, 2021, episode, which was hosted by Jonathan Majors.

After last season was cut short by the WGA strike, which ran 146 days and was resolved in late September, “SNL” hit the ground running in its triumphant return with sketches riffing on pop culture crazes, including “Barbie” through an “I’m Just Ken” cover, as well as the attention centering Kelce’s NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, after Swift was seen attending two games.

This season’s launch also comes amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, though the actors’ guild has said it supports its members who choose to appear on the NBC show.

“SAG-AFTRA members appearing on Saturday Night Live either as hosts, guests, or cast members are working under the Network Code agreement, which is not a contract we are striking,” the guild wrote in a message to its members in early October. “They are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations.

Bad Bunny will hit the “SNL” stage as the reggaeton star serves as this week’s host and musical performer for the episode airing Saturday, Oct. 21.

Comments

3 responses to “First Post-Strike ‘SNL’ Scores 4.8 Million Viewers, Up 19% From 2022 Premiere”

  1. robert pippin Avatar
    robert pippin

    great news

  2. Laney Avatar
    Laney

    I love SNL- Thank you for all the laughs!!

  3. Laura Avatar
    Laura

    The world needs to laugh. Thank you so much SNL

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