NBC launched the 43rd season of “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, and Nielsen figures reveal that even though the show was down from last year’s premiere, the broadcast was “SNL’s” second-most-watched season premiere in the past seven years.
NBC noted that the show’s 2016 premiere was fueled by interest in the presidential election.
Saturday’s show, hosted by Ryan Gosling and featuring musical guest Jay-Z, averaged 7.020 million total viewers and a 1.91 rating in adults 18-49, according to “fast official” “live plus same day” results from Nielsen Media Research.
“The Sept. 30 edition, which aired live coast to coast (11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT) and counted unduplicated viewers from 11:30 encores in western markets, generated the show’s second biggest overall audience for a season debut since Sept. 25, 2010, when the telecast hosted by Amy Poehler and featuring musical guest Katy Perry, averaged a slightly higher 7.022 million viewers,” NBC noted in an announcement.
NBC also noted that over the seven-year span, “the only bigger result for an ‘SNL’ season debut came with last year’s opener, hosted by Margot Robbie and featuring musical guest The Weeknd, as well as the first appearance of Alec Baldwin as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (8.297 million viewers overall, 2.34 rating in adults 18-49). Last year’s premiere was at that time the show’s most-watched in eight years and highest-rated in 18-49 in three years.”
Baldwin reprised his Trump character on Saturday’s show — you can watch the cold open below.
NBC notes that it expects a significant bump for “Saturday Night Live” from time-shifting and VOD. “Last season’s 21 originals grew by +60% in adult 18-49 rating and +3.406 million persons or +44% in total viewers nationally going from ‘live plus same day’ Nielsens to ‘live plus seven day’ figures,” NBC announced.
Last season’s average of 11.071 million viewers in L+7 made 2016-17 the show’s most-watched season in 23 years, since it averaged 11.320 million in 1993-94. The show’s 3.51 average in L+7 adults 18-49 rating nationally for the season made it the show’s best season in that demo in seven years (since the 2009-10 season, a 3.51).
Here’s Saturday’s cold open …