8:41am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Saturday Night Live' Hits 5-Year High With Alec Baldwin
The Trump presidency may be more fruitful for NBC's Saturday Night Live ratings than the election campaign that preceded it.
At the midway mark of a season that started out on its hottest streak in a decade, the Feb. 11 installment of SNL climbed to a five-year high. The episode, hosted by recent fixture Alec Baldwin for a record-breaking 17th time, averaged a 7.2 rating among metered-market households. That's the best showing since a NFL-lifted outing in 2011. Based on just the draw of the host, and not an advantageous lead-in, Saturday's episode marked a best since Betty White hosted in May 2010.
Baldwin again appeared as President (and Celebrity Apprentice executive producer) Donald Trump, while Melissa McCarthy joined him for her second skewering of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
In the key demo of adults 18-49, early ratings in markets with local people meters give the show a 3.6 rating.
It's another boon to what will be one of SNL's best years on record. Prior to this weekend, the show was averaging 10.6 million weekly viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49 in live-plus-seven-day returns. Finishing as the most-watched season since 1994-95 is now all but guaranteed, but the 2008 season (driven by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin) likely won't be outrated in the key demo. That season was averaging a 4.3 rating among adults 18-49 at this point.