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‘SNL’ Hits 6-Year TV Ratings High in Metered Markets

Host Alec Baldwin and political skits carry show to top initial Nielsen number since January 2011

The Trump administration hasn’t exactly won the hearts and minds of the entertainment community, but it helped “SNL” to its highest overnight metered-market household TV rating since January 2011.

Last night’s show, featuring host/Donald Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin and musical guest Ed Sheeran, earned a 7.2 rating/18 share from the 56 metered markets, according to Nielsen’s very preliminary overnight numbers. The show scored a 3.6/18 among adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters — that age-range is broadcast TV’s key demographic for entertainment programming.

The 7.2 marks the show’s high mark since Jan. 8, 2011, when an NFL playoff game between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts ran long and helped deliver a 7.8 for “Saturday Night Live.” Jim Carrey hosted that sketch comedy episode, which featured The Black Keys as musical guests. The last time the show topped 7.2 on a non-NFL night was May 8, 2010, when the legendary Betty White hosted and Jay Z served as musical guest.

The November 12, 2016 show edged out last night’s broadcast with a 3.9 among the 18-49 crowd, as comedian Dave Chapelle hosted the first post-election episode accompanied by musical guest A Tribe Called Quest. Last night’s 3.6 placed it ahead of all primetime and late-night programming in the week’s local people meters.

The Lorne Michaels’ program’s frequent mockery of last year’s election and the current administration has brought in substantially more eyeballs for the program. Compared with the previous year’s original broadcasts, last night’s metered-market households rating was up more than 50 percent (a 7.2 vs. 4.8) and the local people meters number was up 57 percent (a 3.6 vs. 2.3 for the month of February 2016).

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