A return 35 years in the making gave Saturday Night Live its biggest ratings in two and a half years. Former SNL star Eddie Murphy’s first hosting stint on the venerable NBC program since 1984, delivered a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 9.921 million viewers overall in Live+Same Day, according to “fast official” Nielsen numbers ordered by NBC.
The episode, which featured one of the top music artists of the year, Lizzo, and appearances by Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin, Larry David, Maya Rudolph, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Rachel Dratch, was the highest-rated and most watched edition of Saturday Night Live since the May 13, 2017 telecast, hosted by Melissa McCarthy with musical guest HAIM (2.7 in 18-49, 10.382 million viewers).
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What’s more, SNL‘s 2.5 rating in 18-49 ties the September Season 2 premiere of Fox’s Masked Singer as the #1 highest-rated entertainment series telecast this season in 18-49 L+SD on any network across all dayparts, including primetime. It’s also the highest-rated comedy telecast on any network since the series finale of CBS’ Big Bang Theory on May 16 (3.2).
Last night’s SNL with Murphy eclipsed the return of another popular Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell, whose hosting had delivered the show’s biggest ratings so far this season.
Viewership for last night’s show will continue to grow — about 29% of SNL’s total viewed minutes during the 2018-19 season came on digital platforms through short-form videos and full-episode views.
The Dec. 14 Saturday Night Live, with host Scarlett Johansson and musical guest Niall Horan, has now generated 30.4 million views on YouTube since its release last Saturday, edging out the prior episode’s total to now rank as the season’s #2 most-viewed SNL episode on YouTube. The Dec. 14 edition boasts 11 videos with at least 1 million views, led by the Commercial Parody “Children’s Clothing Ad,” which is now up to 8 million views.
As of this morning, three clips from last night’s telecast have crossed the 1 million views mark, Murphy’s monologue, the episode’s Democratic debate-themed Cold Open and Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood. Besides Mr. Robinson, Murphy brought back three other popular characters from his days as SNL cast member, Gumby, Velvet Jones and Buckwheat, as well as his famous Bill Cosby impersonation in the monologue.
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