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Television

Donald Trump lifts ‘SNL’ to highest rating since January 2012

Saturday Night Live - Season 41 Donald Trump Cecily Strong

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York. 

(Dana Edelson / AP)

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.

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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.

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Donald Trump generated laughs on “Saturday Night Live” when he was interrupted by Larry David, and when he busted out his dance movies in a “Hotline Bling” paraody. The Times’ Christy Khoshaba has the details.

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.

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