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Awards

‘Saturday Night Live’ scores its highest premiere rating since 2008

Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon
Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton in the opening sketch of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ premiere.
(NBC)

The presidential election campaign and Alex Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump gave the season premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” a big ratings lift.

Saturday’s 42nd season kickoff averaged a 5.8 rating in the overnight markets measured by Nielsen. The figure is 29% higher than the season premiere on Oct. 3, 2015.

It was the highest overnight rating for an “SNL” season opener since Sept. 13, 2008, when Tina Fey brought her spot-on impersonation of then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to the show.

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“SNL” pulled out the campaign stops this year with Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton in a parody of the first presidential debate last Monday (which averaged a record 84 million TV viewers). The sketch became a topic for the political roundtable discussions on Sunday public affairs programs.

Larry David showed up later on “SNL” as Clinton’s Democratic primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The show was hosted by Margot Robbie. The Weeknd was featured as musical guest.

In Los Angeles, “SNL” scored a 5.6 rating and a 19% share of the homes using TV in the market. In New York, the show had an 8.0 rating and a 20% share. In Chicago, it delivered an 8.5 rating and an 18% share.

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stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


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