‘SNL’ Has Biggest Premiere Since 2008

Alec Baldwin’s Trump helps push ratings over the top

Last Updated: October 2, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

“Saturday Night Live” had its highest ratings in eight years for a season debut, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The long-running NBC show was surely helped by its spoof of the debate between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, portrayed by “SNL” cast member Kate McKinnon.

The 42nd season premiere of “SNL” delivered a 29 percent increase over its season opening a year ago.

The show was hosted by Margot Robbie and featured musical guest The Weeknd, along with appearances by Baldwin as Trump and Larry David as Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The show averaged a 5.8 household rating, 15 share in the metered markets, up nearly 30 percent from last year’s 4.5/11 for the season opener which aired Oct. 3, 2015 .

It’s the highest metered-market household rating for a “SNL” season premiere since Sept. 13, 2008, according to Nielsen, when Michael Phelps hosted with musical guest Lil Wayne, along with Tina Fey‘s memorable impersonation of Gov. Sarah Palin. That show averaged a 7.5 rating.

This weekend’s episode, hosted by Robbie, also had a whopping 35 percent increase in viewers aged 18 to 49, compared with last year’s “SNL” season opener. For that age bracket, its the biggest season debut for the show since 2013, in which Tina Fey hosted with musical act Arcade Fire. This weekend’s show is tied with 2012’s opener with host Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean.