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NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Delivers Its No. 2 Most-Watched Season Premiere in 9 Years

NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Delivers Its No. 2 Most-Watched Season Premiere in 9 Years

The 43rd season premiere of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has generated the show's second most-watched season opener in nine years, trailing over that span only last year's election-fueled results, according to official national "live plus same day" results from Nielsen Media Research.

With a telecast hosted by Ryan Gosling and featuring musical guest Jay-Z, last weekend's "Saturday Night Live" averaged 7.099 million viewers overall and a 1.95 rating, 10 share in adults 18-49.

The Sept. 30 edition, which aired live coast to coast (11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT) and counted unduplicated viewers from 11:30 encores in western markets, generated the show's second biggest overall audience for a season debut since Sept. 13, 2008, when the telecast hosted by Michael Phelps and featuring musical guest Lil Wayne as well as an appearance by Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin averaged 10.151 million viewers.

Over that nine-year span, the only bigger result for an "SNL" season debut came with last year's opener, hosted by Margot Robbie and featuring musical guest The Weeknd, as well as the first appearance of Alec Baldwin as then-Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump (8.297 million viewers overall, 2.34 rating in adults 18-49). Last year's premiere was at that time the show's most-watched in eight years and highest-rated in 18-49 in three years.

This year's 1.95 rating in adults 18-49 is the show's second-highest for an "SNL" season premiere in the four years since the Sept. 28, 2013 debut (with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire) averaged a 2.39, trailing over that span only last year's 2.34.

Note that "Saturday Night Live" will add significant viewership via time-shifting and VOD. Last season's 21 originals grew by +60% in adult 18-49 rating and +3.406 million persons or +44% in total viewers nationally going from "live plus same day" Nielsens to "live plus seven day" figures..

That season's average 11.071 million viewers in L+7 made 2016-17 the show's most-watched season in 23 years, "SNL's" best since 1993-94 (11.320 million). The 3.51 average in L+7 adults 18-49 rating nationally made it the show's best season in that demo in seven years (since the 2009-10 season, a 3.51).

Photo by: Will Heath/NBC

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