“Saturday Night Live” went remote for the first time ever this weekend with an “At Home” edition that posted the season’s second-highest ratings and drew the season’s second-biggest total audience, bested by only by former cast member Eddie Murphy’s return last December.
On Saturday, the “SNL” quarantine episode, which aired live coast-to-coast at 11:30 p.m.ET/8:30 p.m. PT averaged a 1.46 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic and 6.7 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. The edition included material produced remotely by the “Saturday Night Live” cast and crew, who are sheltering at home like the rest of us amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and featured host Tom Hanks and musical guest Chris Martin, also remotely, of course.
That is up 17% in the demo and 12% in overall viewers vs. the NBC sketch show’s Season 45 averages, excluding Murphy’s episode. The Dec. 21 episode featuring former cast member Murphy as host with musical guest Lizzo scored a 2.5 rating and 10 million viewers.
Before the “Saturday Night Live: At Home” edition, the last “SNL” telecast to score higher numbers than Murphy’s return was the May 4, 2019 episode, which was hosted by Adam Sandler with musical guest Shawn Mendes. That episode earned a 1.61 rating in the 18-49 range and 6.809 million overall sets of eyeballs.
“Saturday Night Live” went on hiatus last month after the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home orders made broadcasting new episodes from NBC’s Studio 8H impossible. At the time, the network said it would continue to monitor the situation and make decisions about the show’s return accordingly.
Since then, nearly every late-night talk show that was also forced to halt production on new episode has returned to air with new remotely produced installments. NBC’s own “Tonight Show” returned on March 23 with the “At Home Edition” featuring new content recorded in host Jimmy Fallon’s home mixed with repeat segments from past episodes.