‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Special Breaks Twitter Records

NBC’s super-sized reunion proves most impressive on the social media front

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The 40th anniversary special for “Saturday Night Live” didn’t just post big numbers in the ratings — it was also a major hit on social media, setting a pair of Twitter records.

“SNL 40” — which aired from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night — generated 1.3 million tweets, which were seen by a total of 9.1 million people, according to Nielsen Twitter ratings. During the period ranging from three hours before the show and three hours after the show, those tweets were seen 188 million times. That last number represents the highest Twitter TV impressions of any series episode to date — a record that excludes special programming such as the Super Bowl and the Grammys, but is still pretty impressive.

The 9.1 million (actually, to be technical, 9.064) people who saw the tweets also represented the highest unique audience for any series episode in the 2014-2015 TV season.

For the night, the “SNL” special was top in both impressions and unique audience, followed by the AMC zombie drama “The Walking Dead” (3.4 million unique audience,15.3 million impressions); ABC’s “The Bachelor” (2 million unique audience with 12.5 million impressions); ESPN’s “Sport Science” (729,000 unique audience; 769,000 impressions) and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (572,000 unique audience, 5.2 million impressions).

In old school television-viewing ratings, the “SNL” special drew 23.1 million viewers, according to preliminary numbers.