Ratings: SNL Premiere Hits 8-Year High

The anticipation of its take on the presidential election’s summertime insanity — and Suicide Squad standout Margot Robbie as host surely didn’t hurt! — led NBC’s Saturday Night Live to its biggest audiencefor a season opener in eight years (since Sept. 13, 2008, when Michael Phelps hosted with special guest Tina Fey as Sarah Palin).

Specifically, this weekend’s SNL Season 42 premiere averaged 8.3 million total viewers, up 31 percent from last year’s Miley Cyrus-fronted opener.

In the 18-49 demo, SNL scored a 2.3, up 29 percent from last year and marking the highest rated premiere since Sept. 28, 2013 (with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire).

The debut of Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impression, in the cold open’s debate sketch, averaged a grade of “A-” from TVLine readers, while the episode as a whole averaged a “B-.” Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts next weekend’s edition, with musical guest Twenty One Pilots.

One other Saturday ratings note: ABC’s broadcast of the Louisville Cardinals/Clemson Tigers gridiron match-up earned a 6.0 overnight rating, the highest for any Saturday college football game of the season and the second-highest overnight overall, trailing only Note Dame vs. Texas on Sunday, Sept. 4.

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  1. Simon Jester says:

    Not surprised, though I wonder how drastically the ratings dropped after the debate cold open — surely the reason so many tuned in!

  2. iHeart says:

    Sarah Palin wasn’t in the episode where Michael Phelps hosted, maybe you should change that sentence to “With Special Guest Tina Fey as Sarah Palin”

  3. J says:

    This was “good” writing to them? A bunch of sketches about Margot Robbie being hot, and one about her being a dumb blonde. Seriously SNL? Do better.

    • Dude says:

      Yeah, she was game for most of the sketches but the material failed her. She could have been much better utilized, she’s actually quite funny.

  4. Cintia says:

    I watched for The Weeknd – he gave two awesome performances.