Donald Trump’s hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live” lifted the NBC late-night program to its highest rating since Jan. 7, 2012.
The Saturday telecast averaged a 6.6 rating and a 16% share of the TV audience in the 56 markets that Nielsen tabulates for overnight ratings. It was the strongest overnight number for “SNL” since former NBA star Charles Barkley hosted the program.
But the well-publicized appearance by Trump falls far short of the 10.7 overnight rating the show received on Oct. 18, 2008, when Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was featured. At the time, it was the highest rated “SNL” in 14 years.
National ratings with the average number of viewers watching the show with Trump and musical guest Sia will be issued on Thursday.
NBC expected a boost as Trump, the front-runner in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination, has attracted viewers to news programs and debates since the start of his campaign.
Based on the overnight ratings, the number for Trump’s appearance was 53% higher than the program’s average for original episodes in Nov. 2014.