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Ratings: Prince Tribute Scores Highest ‘SNL’ Spring Overnight Score Since 2013

A special Prince tribute episode of “Saturday Night Live” delivered strong ratings for NBC last night, including the latenight program’s top overnight scores in both young adults and households in two months and its strongest household performance for an episode airing in spring since 2013.

“Goodnight Sweet Prince” was Saturday’s top-rated program, according to Nielsen overnights, averaging a 4.5 household rating/11 share and a 2.1/11 in the 25 markets where adults 18-49 numbers were available. This is the top household rating for “SNL” since Feb. 6 (5.1 with Larry David as host) and the best in the demo since Feb. 13 (2.3 with host Melissa McCarthy and musical guest Kanye West).

For its three originals in April, hosted by Peter Dinklage, Russell Crowe and Julia Louis-Dreyfyus, “Saturday Night Live” averaged a 4.0/10 in households and a 1.9/9 in adults 18-49. That translated in the final nationals to an overall average audience of 5.43 million viewers and a a 1.6 rating in adults 18-49.

Like most television shows that air throughout the course of the traditional September-May television season, ratings for “SNL” tend to drift lower in the spring — making last night’s performance stronger than it might appear. In fact, “SNL” hadn’t done a higher overnight household rating for a spring episode since May 2013 (4.7 for host Ben Affleck and musical guest Kanye West).

Saturday’s special featured clips of Prince’s performances as musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” over the years as well as a look at his never-before-seen performance at the “SNL 40th Anniversary” after-party special in February 2015. It was hosted by Jimmy Fallon and aired in place of a scheduled repeat of the program. The legendary pop singer Prince passed away at his home in Minneapolis on Thursday at the age of 57.

“SNL” resumes its 41st season on May 7 with Brie Larson as host and Alicia Keys as musical guest.

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