‘Saturday Night Live’ Gets Ratings Boost With Coast-to-Coast Live Airing

SNL ratings Jimmy Fallon Jared Kushner
Will Heath/NBC

Saturday Night Live” delivered its highest ratings since February with its first-ever episode to air live in all U.S. time zones.

The Jimmy Fallon-hosted installment featured guest appearances by Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Saturday’s segment averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen’s live-same-day measure. That’s the show’s best since the Feb. 11 episode hosted by Baldwin brought in 10.8 million viewers and 3.1 in the demo.


SNL Melissa McCarthy Sean Spicer

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NBC noted that “SNL’s” demo score, which will grow with time-shifted viewing factored in, makes it the No. 3 entertainment telecast of last week, behind CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and Fox’s “Empire.”

Saturday’s showing continues “SNL’s” hot streak. NBC’s late-night mainstay is having its most-watched season in 23 years, with an average of 11 million viewers in live-plus-7 ratings, compared to 11.2 million in 1993-94. In adults 18-49, with a 3.5 average, “SNL” is at its highest point in nearly a decade, since the 2008-09 season (4.0).


SNL Jimmy Fallon Jared Kushner

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Compared to the same point last season, “SNL” viewership is up 22% in the demo and 28% in total viewers.

NBC and “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels made the decision to air the last four installments of this season live in all time zones to capitalize on the show’s renewed cultural relevance. It’s also a nod to the fact that social media chatter from the Eastern time zone airing often spoils the surprises for viewers in other time zones.

Airing live coast-to-cast was is a way to ensure “everyone is in on the joke at the same time,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said in announcing the decision last month.

NBC’s ratings researchers will surely scrutinize the delayed viewing stats for the episode to see if they drop as a result of the all-live telecast. For all of the changes in TV, live linear viewing is still the most lucrative audience for broadcast networks from an advertising sales perspective.

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  1. Dorothy Tizi says:

    I guess the Hollywood elite don’t get the serious issues our country is having.
    Oh…that’s right…they live in their perfect little world.
    wake up people!!!

  2. Karen says:

    I love this show … am 75 and try as I may I cannot stay awake for sell of it….would love to see it come on at 9 or 10 all the time!

  3. Paully says:

    Very funny.. SNL is back on top..

  4. Frances says:

    Ingenious. Hilarious. Getting better and better.

  5. cadavra says:

    It would be helpful to show a week-to-week comparison of the Mountain and Pacific time zones to see how much of a bump they got from airing in prime-time.

  6. heyitsron says:

    “Saturday Night Live” delivered its highest ratings since February with its first-ever episode to air live in all U.S. time zones.” How can you call it “live” and have “live” in your name if you’re not live? Where are the lawsuits? That’s as bad as telling us you’re FOR Planned Parenthood and then after you get elected you sign off cutting all funding. That’s Middle America taxpayer dollars. Middle Class, the ones (and the poor) who count on Planned Parenthood the most. Doing away with health screenings when we no longer have environmental protection. And he wonders why his ratings have tanked.

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