By: Briana Phipps
“Saturday Night Live” delivered its highest ratings since February with its first episode to air live in all U.S. time zones.
Jimmy Fallon hosted the history making event with guest appearances by Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Saturday’s segment averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen’s live-same-day measure. That’s the show’s best since the Feb. 11 episode hosted by Baldwin brought in 10.8 million viewers and 3.1 in the demo.
Saturday’s showing continues “SNL’s” hot streak. NBC’s late-night mainstay is having its most-watched season in 23 years, with an average of 11 million viewers in live-plus-7 ratings, compared to 11.2 million in 1993-94. In adults 18-49, with a 3.5 average, “SNL” is at its highest point in nearly a decade, since the 2008-09 season (4.0).
NBC and “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels made the decision to air the last four installments of this season live in all time zones to capitalize on the show’s renewed cultural relevance. It’s also a favor to the fact that social media chatter from the Eastern time zone airing often spoils the surprises for viewers in other time zones, which living on the west coast I know only too well.
Airing live coast-to-cast was is a way to ensure “everyone is in on the joke at the same time,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said in announcing the decision last month.