..although for total viewers it was the best since 1994. It was the third most watched program of the week among 18-49 year olds, ad the fifth most in terms of total viewers.
Via NBC Press Release:
WITH HOST JOSH BROLIN, MUSICAL GUEST ADELE AND SPECIAL APPEARANCES BY MARK WAHLBERG, ALEC BALDWIN, TINA FEY AND OLIVER STONE, 'SNL' IS THE #3 ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM OF THE WEEK IN 18-49 AND #5 IN TOTAL VIEWERS
IT'S THE TOP-SCORING 'SNL' IN 18-49 SINCE JANUARY 2001 AND BIGGEST EDITION IN TOTAL VIEWERS SINCE MARCH 1994
WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED EARLY START TO ITS '08-09 SEASON, 'SNL' IS RUNNING 67 PERCENT AHEAD OF THE OPENING WEEKS OF LAST SEASON IN 18-49
BURBANK, Calif. - October 23, 2008 - With its highly anticipated appearance by Vice Presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the October 18 edition of "Saturday Night Live" has soared to its highest adult 18-49 rating in more than seven years and its biggest overall audience in more than 14 years.
The October 18 telecast, hosted by Josh Brolin and featuring musical guest Adele, averaged a 5.5 rating, 20 share in adults 18-49 and 15.0 million viewers overall, according to "live plus same day" in-home viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.
"Saturday Night Live" is the #3 entertainment telecast of the week in adults 18-49, finishing within 0.4 of a point of the #1 position. "SNL" ranked behind only ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" (5.9/15) and "Desperate Housewives" (5.7/13). In total viewers, "SNL" was the #5 entertainment telecast of the week behind only CBS's "CSI" and "NCIS" and ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and "Desperate Housewives."
The 5.5 is "Saturday Night Live's" best 18-49 rating since the January 20, 2001 edition (with host Mena Suvari and musical guest Lenny Kravitz) and the 15.0 million viewers is "SNL's" best total-viewer average since March 12, 1994 (Nancy Kerrigan, Aretha Franklin). Among total viewers, this episode ranks as the third-most-watched "SNL" in the history of People Meters (since September 1987).
The telecast featured Palin appearing as herself in the opening sketch alongside executive producer Lorne Michaels, surprise guests Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, as well as Palin's "SNL" doppelganger, Tina Fey. Palin also appeared during the "Weekend Update" segment. Oliver Stone, director of the current theatrical release "W," made a cameo appearance during the monologue of host Brolin, who stars in "W."
Versus "Saturday Night Live's" average for originals last October (2.4/10 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall), last weekend's telecast is up 129 percent in 18-49 and 181 percent in total viewers. Versus the most recent original this season (3.9/15 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall on October 4), the October 18 edition is up 41 percent in 18-49 and 56 percent in total viewers.
For its five originals so far this season, "SNL" is averaging a 4.0/16 in 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers overall (live plus same day). That's up 67 percent in 18-49 and 78 percent in total viewers versus the 2.4/10 in 18-49 and 5.6 million viewers overall "SNL" was averaging at this point last year with three originals.
Counting all DVR playback for weeks one through four of this year, "Saturday Night Live" is averaging a 4.1 rating in adults 18-49 for its five originals and one encore telecast so far this season and 9.9 million viewers overall, making this the top-rated opening six weeks of an "SNL" season since 2001 in 18-49 and the biggest opening six weeks of an "SNL" season in total viewers since 1994.
"Saturday Night Live" premiered two weeks earlier this season than in recent years, an unprecedented scheduling move designed to take advantage of intense interest in the 2008 election campaign. NBC will also air "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET and "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008," which will feature vintage and new material showcasing "SNL's" presidential satire, from 9-11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, the night before the election.