NBC spins Saturday Night Live ratings via press release:
'SNL' IS DELIVERING ITS HOTTEST START TO A SEASON IN SIX YEARS IN 18-49 AND IN 14 YEARS IN TOTAL VIEWERS
WITH HOST ANNE HATHAWAY, MUSICAL GUEST THE KILLERS AND SPECIAL APPEARANCES BY TINA FEY AND QUEEN LATIFAH, THE OCT. 4 'SNL' ATTRACTS THE SHOW'S SECOND-BIGGEST AUDIENCE SINCE 2002
THROUGH FOUR ORIGINALS, 'SNL' IS UP YEAR-TO-YEAR BY 44 PERCENT IN 18-49 AND 49 PERCENT IN TOTAL VIEWERS
BURBANK, Calif. – October 9, 2008 – "Saturday Night Live" has maintained its status as the hottest show on television with October 4 results that are up 44 percent versus the comparable year-ago rating, helping to make this the top-scoring opening four weeks of an "SNL" season in six years in adults 18-49 and 14 years in total viewers, according to in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.
The October 4 telecast of "Saturday Night Live," hosted by Anne Hathaway and featuring musical guest The Killers, averaged a 3.9 rating, 15 share in adults 18-49 and 9.6 million viewers overall. The telecast included special appearances by recent Emmy winner Tina Fey (for "30 Rock"), reprising her role as Republican VP candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, and Queen Latifah, as debate moderator Gwen Ifill. Last season's fourth "SNL" original averaged a 2.7/10 in 18-49 and 6.5 million viewers overall on November 3, 2007.
This is the second-highest "Saturday Night Live" 18-49 rating since February 4, 2006 (with host Steve Martin and musical guest Prince), trailing only this season's September 13 premiere over that span. In total viewers, it was the second-strongest "SNL" since December 14, 2002 (with host Al Gore and musical guest Phish).
"Saturday Night Live" is up week-to-week by 15 percent in 18-49 (3.9/15 vs. 3.4/14) and up 30 percent versus two weeks ago (3.0/12). In total viewers, the October 4 "SNL" is up 23 percent versus the prior week (9.6 million vs. 7.9 million) and up 39 percent versus two weeks ago (6.9 million).
Through the first four weeks of its new season, "Saturday Night Live" is running 44 percent ahead of the first four originals of last season in adults 18-49 (with a 3.6 rating vs. a 2.5, live plus same day) and up 49 percent in total viewers (8.6 million vs. 5.8 million). Counting all DVR playback for weeks one and two of this year, "SNL" is up to a 3.9 rating average in adults 18-49 for its season to date and 9.1 million viewers overall, making this the top-rated opening four weeks of an "SNL" season since 2002 in 18-49 and the biggest opening four originals of "SNL" in total viewers since 1994.
"Saturday Night Live" premiered two weeks earlier this season than in recent years, a move designed to take advantage of intense interest in the 2008 election campaign. NBC will continue to tap into this year's heightened political interest with "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday," a series of primetime editions that debut tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET and run for three weeks, and "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008," which will feature vintage and new material chronicling the show's presidential satire, airing at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, the night before Election Day.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.