‘Saturday Night Live’ Season Premiere Is Show’s Lowest-Rated Opener in 5 Years

But Saturday’s episode was steady with Season 44 finale

Saturday Night Live - Season 45
Photo by: Will Heath/NBC

“Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 45th season on Saturday with its lowest-rated season opener since 2014.

The episode, hosted by Woody Harrelson and featuring musical guest Billie Eilish, averaged a 4.1 rating/10 share household results in Live + Same Day data from Nielsen’s 56 metered markets. It also received a 1.6/10 among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic in the 25 markets with local people meters tracked by Nielsen.

Those ratings are down 15% in households and 30 percent in adults 18-49 vs. from the Season 44 premiere episode (4.8 and 2.3) and mark the lowest rating posted by an “SNL” season premiere since Season 40 of the long-running NBC sketch show opened in 2014 to a 4.0 household rating in the metered markets and a 2.1/10 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters. That episode was hosted by “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt.

Like most every other show on broadcast television that returned with the start of Fall TV last week, “SNL” is down versus its year-ago premiere, which for “SNL” came at the height of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and featured an opening with Matt Damon playing Kavanaugh.

That fall 2018 Season 44 premiere scored a 4.8 metered-market rating and was the second best for an “SNL” premiere since 2012, behind only the 2016 opener, which the show earned during election year.

Saturday’s episode was even with the Season 44 finale rating in the metered markets (4.1 vs. 4.1 on May 18), and ticked up 7% among adults 18-49 in the local people meters (1.6 vs. 1.5), to top three of the show’s final four telecasts of last season.