Eddie Murphy's SNL Hits an 11-Year Audience High With DVR Playback, Best Since Sarah Palin's 2008 Visit

SNL - Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat

It’s an extra-beautiful day in Mister Robinson’s neighborhood, now that the latest ratings for Eddie Murphy’s celebrated Saturday Night Live return are in.

Hosting SNL for the first time in 35 years, Murphy’s callback-filled episode amassed 16.3 million total viewers with Live+7 DVR playback factored in — marking the long-running sketch series’ largest audience since Oct. 18, 2008, when Josh Brolin hosted with musical guest Adele and the real Sarah Palin stopped by during a season in which Tina “I Can See Russia  From My House!” Fey was lampooning the VP pick on the regular. (That outing drew 16.84 million, which at the time set a 14-year high.) 

Murphy’s audience increase of 6.3 million viewers with Live+7 playback represents the largest such gain for any broadcast-TV program since the Nov. 5, 2018 Manifest added just shy of 7 million.

In the 18-49 demo, Murphy’s SNL return swelled 1.87 ratings points — the biggest such lift on any network since the Nov. 20, 2018 This Is Us grew by just over two points — to a 34-month high of 4.37, with Live+7 DVR playback factored in.

TVLine gave veteran cast member Murphy’s return an average grade of “A+,” landing it atop readers’ ranking of Season 45’s episodes thus far.

Compared to SNL’s season-to-date L+7 averages, the Dec. 21 episode was up 112 percent and up 91 percent in total audience.

SNL returns on Saturday, Jan. 25, with host Adam Driver and musical guest Halsey.