‘SNL’ posts big sweeps

Primetime episodes gain hearty ratings as well

Despite not starting until nearly Sunday morning on one occasion, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has delivered its best February sweeps ratings in three years.

According to Nielsen, “SNL” averaged a 4.7/18 in adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers overall for its four February broadcasts — gains of 17% and 22%, respectively, vs. a year ago, and the show’s best February numbers since 1998. Show was delayed until nearly midnight in much of the country on the first Saturday of the sweep by the net’s opening-night coverage of the XFL.

It was a strong month for the “SNL” gang, which also delivered hearty ratings for its two live 20-minute Thursday primetime episodes.

NBC also remained solid in latenight for the week ending Feb. 25, as “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” notched its 50th consecutive victory in adults 18-49 (2.5/12) and again prevailed in total viewers (6.1 million). CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” matched its best 18-49 rating of the season (2.0/9) and averaged 4.6 million viewers.

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