Coming off of its most-watched run in 23 years and the highest-rated in seven, Saturday Night Live was understandably down in the ratings with its Season 43 premiere.
This weekend’s Ryan Gosling-hosted opener delivered about 7.1 million total viewers while scoring a 1.95 demo rating (per finals), down 15 and 17 percent from the fast nationals for its May closer (which, hosted by Dwayne Johnson, gave the show its biggest finale audience in six years and its best rating in four).
In metered markets, the show thus experienced its first finale-to-premiere decline in five years.
That said, the total audience of 7.099 million represents SNL‘s second-most watched premiere since September of 2008, when host Michael Phelps, musical guest Lil Wayne and Tina Fey-as-Sarah Palin delivered 10.15 million.
TVLine readers gave SNL‘s Season 43 premiere an average grade of “B-.”