NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is off to its best season start in eight years, and the one-word reason is Trump. The AP’s David Bauder writes that the show’s politically charged material — featuring Alec Baldwin’s recurring role as Donald Trump — is boosting interest in the venerable program.
Bauder notes that Trump himself has contributed to the show’s success. “Hours after seeing himself portrayed by Alec Baldwin opposite Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton impersonation for the third straight week, the Republican presidential candidate took to Twitter to complain,” Bauder writes. “He called the opening skit a hit job, and said Baldwin’s impersonation stinks. ‘Time to retire the boring and unfunny show,’ Trump tweeted.”
But the gesture by Trump, according to Bauder, gave the show “validation.”
The report quotes David Bianculli, author of the upcoming book “The Platinum Age of Television,” saying: “Trump doing this is like an endorsement for the rest of the world.”
The report notes that the season opener drew 8.3 million viewers, well above the 6.3 million a year earlier. The number for this year’s opener jumped to 12.2 million in L+7, adding in recorded viewing and on-demand streaming within the first week.
“Additionally, more than 36 million people watched a clip of that show’s opening skit with Baldwin and McKinnon on Facebook or YouTube, NBC said. Some others likely watched on other sites, including NBC’s own,” the AP story notes.
Bauder adds: “During its first two weeks on the air this fall, NBC had bigger season-opening audiences than at any point since Tina Fey was doing her memorable Sarah Palin impersonation in 2008, the Nielsen company said. Based on preliminary ratings, this past Saturday’s third week will be the same.”