March 15, 2013 10:34am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Justin Timberlake 'Saturday Night Live' Is NBC's Top-Rated Show of 2013
Saturday Night Live, always dependable for NBC, is now regularly outperforming the network's entire primetime lineup -- and the most recent episode with Justin Timberlake was no exception.
Final Nielsen returns give the March 9 edition a 3.4 rating with adults 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers. It was the series' biggest episode in over a year, since a January 2012 broadcast saw a huge NFL lead-in for host Charles Barkley, and NBC's top-rated outing of 2013.
The episode was obviously out-rated by the Golden Globes (a 6.4 adults rating on Jan. 13) and a primetime NFL playoff game, but among original entertainment programming, Timberlake's SNL was tops.
Even better for the third-place network, SNL surged in the Big Four rankings to top most of last week's primetime broadcasts across networks. It tied an original of CBS powerhouse NCIS for sixth place among all telecasts, trailing only The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and three new episodes of American Idol.
And speaking of Idol, final SNL ratings actually topped this Thursday's episode of the Fox competition by four tenths of a point.
What a strange world we live in.