UPDATED, 11:40 AM: Saturday Night Live drew 8.3 million viewers in its season premiere on Saturday, the strongest season opener in total viewers since 2008, according to Nielsen and the network. That’s up 31% from last year’s 6.32 million for season-opening telecast on October 3, 2015. In adults 18-49, the 42nd season premiere averaged a 2.34 rating, 11 share, for a 29% increase on the year-ago debut (1.82). It’s the highest-rated SNL season premiere in 18-49 since September 28, 2013 (a 2.39, with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire).
PREVIOUSLY, October 2: Opening its 42nd season in the final stretch of one of the most headline-grabbing Presidential elections in history, Saturday Night Live logged its strongest season premiere ratings in years.
Last night’s show, hosted by Margot Robbie and featuring musical guest The Weeknd, as well as appearances by Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Larry David as Sen. Bernie Sanders, drew a 5.8 household rating in the metered markets, up +29% from last year’s 4.5 for the Oct. 3, 2015 season-opening telecast. That was the highest SNL season premiere since the previous Presidential election year that featured an unorthodox candidate that dominated media coverage — the 2008 cycle that introduced Sarah Palin. That year’s SNL season premiere hosted by Michael Phelps, with a much anticipated appearance by Tina Fey as Gov. Palin, averaged a 7.5 rating in the metered markets.
In the 25 markets with local people meters, last night’s Saturday Night Live was up +35% from the year-ago debut (2.0). It’s the highest-rated SNL season premiere in 18-49 since Sept. 28, 2013 (2.7 with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire) and equals the show’s top opener since Sept. 15, 2012 (2.8 with host Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean).