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Opinion: By golly, ‘Saturday Night Live’ viewers prefer the real Sarah Palin

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‘Saturday Night Live’ and Tina Fey may mercilessly mock Sarah Palin.

But, goldarnit, they’re mercilessly mocking her all the way to one of the banks still in business.

The Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate has become a genuine media star, guaranteeing high ratings even for an actress such as Fey pretending to be her.

But last night with the real Sarah Palin on board, ‘SNL’ enjoyed its highest ratings in 14 years -- since the first Clinton term in 1994 when figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and soul singer Aretha Franklin teamed up on the show.

Final Nielsen figures will be out later this week. But early estimates put the average audience at 14 million, with the largest number at 17 million for the show’s first half-hour, when Palin appeared in the long opening skit. And then she appeared again later in the News Update section.

To see videos of both segments, click on the Read more line below here.

— Andrew Malcolm

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Here are the two ‘SNL’ videos with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin from NBC Oct. 18, 2008:

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