The Force was with NBC’s Saturday Night Live last night, at least in the local 18-49 demo, where the Adam Driver-hosted installment drew its best numbers in two years. The first new episode of 2016 averaged a 3.0 rating, 15 share in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters from 12:15-1:45 AM ET, according to Nielsen Media Research. (Nielsen noted that an adjusted average in household rating in the 56 markets metered by Nielsen is unavailable right now due to technical issues).
The episode was delayed about 45 minutes by the overrun of NBC’s primetime NFL playoff telecast, an overtime thriller between the Cardinals and Packers, but the game might have helped deliver at least some of its viewers: The SNL results in the Local People Meters were the highest since January 4, 2014 (3.0/12 for SNL Best of This Season, also following an NFL overrun) and equals the show’s high of December 21, 2013 (3.9/18 with host Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake).
Driver, the freshly minted Star Wars villain and erstwhile Girls heartthrob, was joined by country star Chris Stapleton as musical guest (along with a flashback tribute to David Bowie).
The Packers-Cardinals NFC playoff game was the second-best primetime division playoff game ever in metered-market households, posting a 20.3 rating, 34 share. Only the Broncos-Patriots game in 2012 (20.6/34) went higher. The Packers-Cardinals overnight rating peaked at a 23.4/42 from 11:30-11:45 PM ET in overtime. The Cardinals won, 26-20.