'Saturday Night Live' Ratings Rise With Martin Short, 'Silent Night' Tribute

Martin Short SNL - H 2012

Last night's Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, featuring host Martin Short and musical performances by the New York City Children's Chorus, Paul McCartney and Nirvana, matched its second highest rating of the season.

VIDEO: 'SNL' Recap: Samuel L. Jackson (Possibly) Drops F-Bomb; Paul McCartney Reunites Nirvana

In metered market households, SNL scored an easy win among broadcast networks with a 5.1 rating and 12 percent share. That matched its second-highest rating of the season (the Nov. 17 episode hosted by Jeremy Renner), falling shy of the Oct. 20 outing with Bruno Mars. It marked an 11 percent increase over the previous week's episode hosted by Jamie Foxx.

SNL, which decided to go through with its last broadcast of 2012 in the wake of Friday's tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., kicked off the broadcast with an uncharacteristically sober cold open: the New York City Children's Chorus singing "Silent Night."

In the targeted adults 18-49 demographic, SNL delivered its best showing since the Nov. 3 episode. The 25 markets with Local People Meters give SNL a 2.8 adults rating and a 12 percent share.

SNL returns in 2013 with actress Jennifer Lawrence tackling hosting duties for the first time on Jan. 19.