You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Saturday Night Live’ Season 43 Opens Strong But Shy of Last Year’s Turnout

Saturday Night Live’s” 43rd season opener grabbed a solid 7 million viewers but could not match the crowd that gathered last fall during the frenzied environment of the presidential election.

“SNL” averaged 7 million viewers and a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen’s preliminary live-same-day ratings. Those numbers will grow with delayed viewing factored in during the next seven days.

Last fall, “SNL” opened to 8.9 million viewers and 2.3 adults 18-49. That set the show on course for what proved to be its most-watched season since the 1993-94 frame in total viewers, with an average of 11 million, and best showing in seven years in the adults 18-49 demo (a 3.5 average), according to Nielsen’s live-plus-7 ratings. Saturday’s opener was the second most-watched “SNL” premiere since 2010, according to NBC.

Season 43 marks the first time the show will air live in all time zones — an experiment that NBC began with the final four episodes of last season. That should also give a lift to its live viewership. The social media chatter around the show had become so pervasive that there were no surprises left for viewers in western, mountain and central time zones once the show aired live on the East Coast.

Still, delayed viewing is significant for “SNL.” Last season the show averaged a 60% gain over seven days in adults 18-49 and a 44% spike in total viewers, according to NBC.

Last year’s “SNL” season premiere featured the highly anticipated debut of Alec Baldwin as then-candidate Donald Trump. Season 43 also opened with Baldwin-as-Trump in a sketch that mocked the President’s response to the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Courtney Kemp Agboh'Power' TV show final

    'Power' Creator Courtney A. Kemp On Why Starz Series Hasn't Gotten Awards Recognition

    “Power” is a top ratings performer for Starz and has a hugely committed fanbase, but the series has lacked in its awards recognition. Other than honors from the NAACP Image Awards, “Power” has not received any awards or nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes or SAG — something that star and executive producer Curtis “50 [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers on Disney, Spinoffs

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Potential Disney Spinoffs, Confirm Apu Will Remain

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content