11:33am PT by Philiana Ng
Charles Barkley-Hosted 'Saturday Night Live' Hits Highest Ratings Since January 2011
Former basketball player Charles Barkley returned to host Saturday Night Live for the third time and viewers tuned in.
After an overrun of the NFL Wild Card playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions pushed the start of SNL back, the live comedy show didn't miss a beat, posting the highest average rating in local-market households in one year.
SNL, with singer Kelly Clarkson, drew a 7.4 rating in the metered market households from 11:45 p.m. to 1:15 a.m., the highest mark since the episode hosted by Jim Carrey with musical guest The Black Keys on Jan. 8, 2011. Carrey's episode averaged a 7.8 rating. Barkley's episode easily topped Jimmy Fallon's first time hosting in December.
The NFL overrun may have boosted SNL as the show also grabbed its highest rating in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters since the May 21, 2011 season finale, drawing a 4.3 rating. For reference, the Saints-Lions game posted a 19.3 overnight rating, the third best for a Wild Card playoff game since 1999, but was down from last year's Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets matchup (20.8). The earlier Houston Texans-Cincinatti Bengals game posted a 15.3 overnight rating.
Sketches on SNL's first episode of 2012 included an "Inside the NBA" spoof with Barkley playing Shaquille O'Neal, "White People Problems" and a fake ad for a Barkley post-game translator. Barkley also poked fun at his gambling problems and his recent weight loss.
On Jan. 14, Daniel Radcliffe will host with musical guest Lana Del Rey.