SNL season 43 premiere ratings strong, but short of last year
Returning after a record-breaking season, Saturday Night Live is still going strong in the ratings.
The sketch comedy series’ season 43 premiere drew more than 7 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 on Saturday, per Nielsen. The episode aired live on both the East and West coasts, following the broadcast pattern of last season’s final four installments, and will likely benefit in the ratings considerably from time-shifted viewing.
The viewership for this premiere marks a 15 percent decline from 2016’s season opener. That episode took place just five days after the first general election debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and featured Alec Baldwin’s much-hyped debut as Trump. It kicked off a landmark season for SNL, winning nine Emmys out of a show-record 22 nominations and netting its biggest overall viewership in 23 years.
The new season, which similarly opened on Baldwin parodying Trump, is off to another solid start. The premiere is the show’s first since 2014 to not air in a heated election climate — season 41 began in the heart of Republican primary debate season — and, nonetheless, is the second-most-watched SNL premiere since 2010, or over the last eight seasons.