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'Saturday Night Live': Maya Rudolph and Friends Drive Ratings

Lacking the recent high from a football lead-in, the NBC series continues to rise with help from Justin Timberlake and Amy Poehler.

Saturday Night Live Maya Rudolph Still - H 2012
Dana Edelson/NBC

Alumni and Justin Timberlake continue to be huge draws for Saturday Night Live.

This past week's Maya Rudolph-hosted episode of the late night NBC mainstay built on strong returns from the recent Zooey Deschanel outing for highs among adults 18-49.

Fast affiliate ratings give SNL a two tenths bump to a 2.9 in the  demo, with a 4.9 rating among households. The series scored an easy win in both measurements over its broadcast competition.

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Rudolph, whose bigger hits of the night included parodies of Beyonce and Michelle Obama, was not alone as the night's guest talent. Former castmate Amy Poehler dropped by to reprise her role on "Bronx Beat" and take her old seat at the "Weekend Update" desk. Perennial SNL collaborator Justin Timberlake also appeared in two sketches.

In fact, the last episode of SNL to reach such high ratings -- ignoring the NFL playoff-boosted broadcast on Jan. 7, which grabbed a 4.1 rating among adults 18-49 -- was Timberlake's hosting appearance during 2011's May 21 finale. The episode drew a record 4.5 rating in 18-49-ers.

The only downside to NBC's Saturday evening was The Firm. Displaced after a poor showing during its Thursday night time period, metered markets give it a series low of a 0.5 in the key demo.