TV Ratings: 'SNL' Opener Improves From 2017

The weekend’s Saturday Night Live premiere on NBC was second only to the records of 2016 when stacked against recent ratings performances. The episode managed to improve from 2017 in early returns.

Saturday’s episode, which was hosted by actor Adam Driver and featured musical  guest Kanye West, earned a 4.8 overnight rating among metered-market households, a 7 percent improvement from the 2017 opener. The show was up even more among younger viewers, with NBC averaging a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49 in the markets with local people meters. That’s a 10 percent lift from a year ago.

The timing could not have been better for the show’s return. With Alec Baldwin joining the cast again this season to play President Donald Trump, politics remain in sharp focus. Saturday’s episode opened with guest Matt Damon lampooning the Senate hearing performance of SCOTUS hopeful Brett Kavanaugh.

The show also capped off a very good week for NBC, which won yet another premiere week thanks to Sunday Night Football, This Is Us, The Voice and a strong premiere for Manifest.

Even though the record-breaking highs of the 2016-17 season are likely out of reach, last season remained a huge one for SNL, which averaged just under 10 million viewers and a 2.8 rating in the key demo with live-plus-7 returns

Season 44 continues next week with Akwafina hosting, while SNL alum Seth Meyers will host on Oct. 13.