TV Ratings: 'SNL' Hits 3-Year Demo High for Post-Election Episode

Dave Chappelle hosts 'SNL'
Will Heath/ NBC

The post-election episode of Saturday Night Live scored the show's best adults 18-49 rating in more than three years, and cable news — CNN in particular — had a huge day Saturday as major media outlets called the presidential election in favor of Joe Biden. The NFL, as usual, dominated Sunday's primetime.

Hosted by Dave Chappelle, SNL's Nov. 7 episode scored a 2.6 rating among adults 18-49, its best since May 2017 and the best for any comedy telecast on Nielsen-measured TV since the series finale of The Big Bang Theory 18 months ago. It also drew 9.06 million viewers, the most since a December 2019 episode with host Eddie Murphy (9.96 million). The Murphy episode posted a 2.5 in the 18-49 demo.

NBC also scored in primetime Saturday: Its telecast of Notre Dame vs. Clemson drew 10.07 million people, the biggest college football audience of the season so far.

On cable Saturday, CNN drew 13.5 million viewers in the 8 p.m. hour, which featured acceptance speeches by President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. MSNBC drew 9 million viewers — its biggest audience ever — for special coverage of speeches, while Fox News had just under 3 million in the 8 o'clock hour.

CNN was the first to project Biden as the winner at 11:24 a.m. ET Saturday, averaging 5.78 million viewers for that hour and 7.47 from noon-1 p.m. ET. Fox News broke into its programming at 11:40 a.m. to make its call and averaged 3.44 million viewers from then to 1 p.m. (MSNBC's hourly numbers weren't available at publication time.)

On Sunday, NBC's Sunday Night Football easily led primetime with 16.88 million viewers and a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49. CBS' 60 Minutes had its second biggest audience of the season (14.02 million viewers) following an NFL doubleheader on the network. NCIS: Los Angeles (6.35 million viewers, 0.8 in 18-49) premiered to ratings on par with its 2019-20 average, but NCIS: New Orleans (4.65 million, 0.6) had its smallest same-day viewer tally ever.

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