Melissa McCarthy Sean Spicer SNL ratings
Will Heath/NBC

Political turmoil has been very, very good to “Saturday Night Live.”

The NBC late-night institution has been on a ratings roll since President Trump’s upset victory in the Nov. 8 presidential election. Saturday’s edition delivered a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover 70% of U.S. TV households.

That was strong enough to make “SNL” the second highest-rated program of the week in the key demo, behind only CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which scored a 3.3 in the metered markets on Thursday. “SNL’s” ratings will likely rise by double digits when delayed viewing is factored-in.

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Melissa McCarthy Sean Spicer

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Overall, “SNL” viewership for the season to date is up 19% in adults 18-49 (3.5 vs. 2.9 rating) and up 22% in total viewers (10.6 million vs. 8.7 million) over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season. This marks the show’s strongest ratings performance in 22 years, since the 1994-95 season, according to NBC.

“SNL” viewership on Saturday was likely boosted by West Coast tune-in after the buzz generated by Melissa McCarthy’s surprise appearance as White House press secretary Sean Spicer. The lengthy bit generated a tidal wave of social media buzz after its East Coast airing.

Saturday’s episode, hosted by Kristen Stewart, grabbed a 5.0 household rating/13 share overall in the overnights. That matched the show’s Jan. 21 rating but fell short of its season high in households (6.2) set on Nov. 12, the first episode after the election, hosted by Dave Chappelle.

President Trump hasn’t been shy about expressing his distaste for “SNL” and Alec Baldwin’s recurring impersonation of him. But as of Sunday afternoon, the Commander-in-Chief had not weighed in on McCarthy’s work as Spicer.

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