“Saturday Night Live’s” 42nd season opened strong this weekend, no doubt signaling that all eyes will be on the NBC show in the next few months as the Clinton-Trump presidential showdown continues to heat up.
“SNL” scored its biggest premiere ratings in eight years, according to live-plus same day viewing figures from the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen. It averaged a strong overnight rating of 5.8, and jumped 29% from its season opener a year ago.
The premiere, hosted by “Suicide Squad” star Margot Robbie with musical guest the Weeknd, also pulled in young viewers, averaging a 2.7 rating, 14 share in adults 18-49, a 35% increase on its premiere a year ago. It’s the highest-rated premiere for the show in the 18-49 demo in local people meters since Sept. 13, 2013.
It’s the strongest premiere since 2008, also an election year. That season premiere, hosted by Michael Phelps with Lil Wayne as musical guest, averaged a 7.5 rating in metered markets, and also featured an appearance by Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin.
The 42nd premiere generated strong buzz ahead of its debut. Along with promising to parody the highly rated presidential debate that took place on Monday, it touted the return of Alec Baldwin, who played Donald Trump alongside Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton. Larry David also returned to reprise his Bernie Sanders impression.
The Oct. 8 episode of “SNL” will be hosted by “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda, with Twenty One Pilots serving as musical guest.