10:32am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'SNL,' Live on Both Coasts, Is Best Since February
With Jimmy Fallon as host and Alec Baldwin again opening the show as President Donald Trump, this weekend's episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live could have seemed old hat — but its delivery to audiences was a historic first.
For the first time in its 42 seasons on the air, Saturday Night Live aired live across the U.S.. (Throughout its history, the show has always aired on a time-zone delay on the West Coast.) The trick helped goose ratings as, according to early stats from Nielsen Media, the episode was up to its best showing since February, when Baldwin himself hosted.
The latest installment of SNL averaged 7.9 million viewers rating. In the targeted demographic of adults 18-49, the show averaged a 2.3 rating. In the key demo, the episode outrated every Big Four series of the week, other than Fox's Empire and CBS' The Big Bang Theory.
SNL continues to enjoy its best performance in years. With an average 11 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49, per live-plus-seven-day averages, it outperforms an overwhelming number of primetime shows. SNL's current season ranks as the most-watched in a whopping 23 years and as the highest-rated since the 2008-09 season — the year Tina Fey famously parodied another politico, Sarah Palin, to record audiences.
As for the coast-to-coast live episodes, those will continue through SNL's final three originals of the season. The show takes a break from originals for the rest of this month, returning May 6 with three consecutive new episodes.