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‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Draws Huge Ratings

Super-sized reunion show draws 23.1 million viewers

The 40th anniversary special for late-night institution “Saturday Night Live” drew big ratings along with big laughs on Sunday night.

The special, which aired from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, posted a 7.8 rating/21 share in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic, making it NBC’s top-rated primetime telecast, aside from post-Super Bowl programs, since the May 2006 “Will & Grace” finale, according to preliminary numbers.

In total viewers, the special also scored big, grabbing 23.1 million total viewers — which makes it the most-watched primetime entertainment program (again, excluding post-Super Bowl shows) since May 2004.

One small caveat on the “SNL” special ratings: Preliminary numbers only measure the show from 8 to 11 p.m.; final numbers will also take the last half hour into account.

Combined with a red carpet special at 7 p.m., which had a 3.0/10 with 11.1 million total viewers, the “Saturday Night Live” extravaganza gave NBC an overwhelming first place for the evening, with an average 6.6/19 and 20.1 million total viewers.

ABC was a distant second in ratings and third in total viewers with a 1.5/4 and 6 million. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at 7 drew a 1.4/5 with 6.6 million total viewers, while “The Bachelor: Chris Tells All” the following hour had a 1.5/4 with 5.6 million. “The Bachelor” at 9 posted a 1.5/4 with 6 million total viewers.

CBS was third in ratings and second in total viewers with a 1.1/3 and 7.7 million. “60 Minutes” at 7 took a 1.2/4 with 10.2 million total viewers, while “Undercover Boss” the following hour had a 0.9/3 and 6.3 million total viewers. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” at 9 posted a 1.1/3 and 7 million total viewers, while a second episode at 10 performed identically.

Fox took fourth place in ratings and total viewers, averaging a 0.8/2 with 2 million for the night. “Mulaney” at 7 drew a  0.4/1 and 1.1 million total viewers. Following a “Simpsons” repeat, a new episode of the show at 8 had a 1.1/3 with 2.7 million total viewers. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” at 8:30 posted a 0.9/2 and drew 2.1 million total viewers. “Family Guy” at 9 grabbed a 1.2/3 with 2.5 million total viewers, while “Bob’s Burgers” at 9:30 drew a 0.9/2 with 2 million total viewers.