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Betty White gives 'SNL' season-high ratings

With Betty White as host, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" climbed to its highest overnight rating in a year and a half.

"SNL," which also had musical guest Jay-Z, averaged an 8.8 household rating this weekend, the sketch comedy show's best early number since John McCain stopped by the show during the 2008 election.

Critics praised White's performance on the show, her first-ever visit to "SNL," calling it funny and touching.

While on Sunday, the season finale of CBS' "Amazing Race" closed as the award-winning reality show's lowest-rated yet, down 6% from last year.  "Race" (10.6 million, 2.9) slipped during a tepid evening in the

BettywhiteABC's "Desperate Housewives" (11.2 million, 3.7) was down a tenth from last week, with lead-in "Extreme Makeover" (7.6 million, 2.2) down 8% and 10 p.m.'s "Brothers & Sisters" (8.3 million, 2.6) climbing 8%.

Fox landed in second place with the first hour of the comedy block  steady with last week -- "Simpsons" (5.7 million, 2.7) and "Cleveland Show" (5.3 million, 2.6). While "Family Guy" (7.2 million, 3.8) and "American Dad" (5.7 million, 2.9) both improved about 8%.

NBC was in third place with "Minute to Win It" (5.1 million, 1.6) down 16% to a season low. "Celebrity Apprentice" (7.4 million, 2.9) wasn't hurt by its declining lead-in, rising 12%. 

CBS was in last place thanks to an under-performing Tom Selleck movie, "Jesse Stone: No Remorse" (11.4 million, 1.4).