9:04am PT by Michael O'Connell
Emmy Nominations: 'Saturday Night Live' Record Grows to 231 After Election Season
Coming off a season of record ratings and almost unprecedented buzz, Saturday Night Live has upped the already high bar for most Emmy nominations of a single series. The 42-year-old variety show got another 22 this year, building its record to a total 231 nominations since it premiered.
Chief among SNL's slew of noms are mentions for ubiquitous Alec Baldwin, 2016 supporting comedy actress winner Kate McKinnon, fellow castmembers Leslie Jones and Vanessa Beyer and guest actress and host Melissa McCarthy — and a given: best variety program.
The 2016-17 season of SNL was a massive success for NBC, which announced last summer that Baldwin would be portraying then presidential candidate Donald Trump in the runup to the November election. Trump's unexpected win over Hillary Clinton prompted the series to carry its political skewering through the entirety of the season, where McKinnon notably tackled Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and attorney general Jeff Sessions after the election rendered her popular portrayal of Clinton less of a necessity. Interestingly, Baldwin was nominated for playing Trump, yet SNL castmembers are typically nominated for playing "various" roles.
SNL's aggressive lampooning of the Trump White House inspired online ire from the Twitter-centric president, but it only further endeared the show with its audience. SNL wrapped the season with an average 11 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49 — per Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day ratings. It ranks as the most watched season in 23 years and the highest-rated in seven. It also finished the season as the No. 5 non-sports show on broadcast, trailing only The Big Bang Theory, This Is Us, Empire and Modern Family in the key demo.
Baldwin was the breakout of the SNL season. His orange and squinting take on Trump became a cold-open fixture. All told, he appeared in 15 episodes, one of which he also hosted for a record 17th time. Baldwin was such a big part of SNL's season he wasn't eligible to compete in the guest-actor category. That race, where SNL hosts typically compete, is reserved for people who appear in fewer than six episodes in a single season. So Baldwin was forced to submit as a supporting actor, vying against salaried castmembers. (The actor has already said he'll reprise the role in the fall.)
The 2016-17 season also saw SNL make a big play for West Coast eyeballs, airing live on both coasts for the first time in its history.
Prior to this Thursday's nominations, SNL had an already unrivaled 209 nominations and 39 wins. In addition to McKinnon's win, hosts and alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler shared the guest-actress title at the 2016 Emmys. SNL hasn't won the top variety prize since 1993, prior to the category's split between sketch and talk.
Full list of SNL nominations
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Alec Baldwin)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Vanessa Bayer)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Leslie Jones)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Kate McKinnon)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Tom Hanks)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Dave Chappelle)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Kristen Wiig)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Melissa McCarthy)
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality Competition Series
Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Programming
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series
Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series