×

Tracy Morgan’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ Return Boosts Ratings

Tracy Morgan’s return to “Saturday Night Live” lifted ratings for the latenight show, which was up week-to-week and matched its top overnight demo score since last winter.

According to Nielsen metered-market overnights, “SNL” averaged a 2.0 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and a 4.2 household rating/11 share. It was up in both categories from the previous week’s 1.9/9 in the demo and 3.9/10 in households for Amy Schumer’s first turn as host.

Compared to its October 2014 average, “Saturday Night Live” was up 8% in overnight household rating (from 3.9) and even in adults 18-49. The show hasn’t done a higher 18-49 overnight rating since the Jan. 31 show hosted by J.K. Simmons.

Morgan, a former “SNL” cast member for seven seasons and a co-star on NBC’s “30 Rock,” was hosting the show for the second time. His return to Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center came 16 months after a severe car crash left him in critical condition. He made a surprise appearance at the Primetime Emmy Awards last month, presenting the award for best drama.

And Morgan didn’t shy away from making jokes at his own expense. “People said, ‘Can he speak?’ Is he at 100% mental capacity? The truth is I never did. I might be a couple of points higher now,” the comedian said.

Morgan opened the show with a heartfelt thank-you to fans and colleagues who helped him through his long recovery from broken bones and a brain injury. “I’m back,” he said. “It feels so good to be here.” And several surprise guests appeared on the show to support him.

Last night’s “SNL” started about 15 minutes late in the East and Midwest due to late-running college football action on the network. Notre Dame’s 41-31 victory over USC averaged a 2.89 overnight household rating from 7:30-11:15 p.m. ET, which tops the overnight for the previous two matchups between the rivals on NBC in 2011 and 2013.

Earlier, ESPN scored big with its coverage of the Michigan State-Michigan contest, which was decided on the game’s final play. The Spartans’ victory averaged a 5.1 overnight household rating (peaking with a 7.2 during the final 15 minutes, 7:15-7:30 p.m. ET) — the highest college football rating for any game on the day and the largest ever for an October game on the network. Its 28.3 overnight rating in Detroit was also the highest ever in the market for a regular-season college football game on ESPN.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content