Obviously, “Saturday Night Live” is going to get big ratings when you bring back Justin Timberlake as a musical guest. But when you combine the singer and Jimmy Fallon, you apparently get numbers that are somewhat out of this world.
For the new edition of the show Sunday night, NBC scored its highest figures in the timeslot since the January 2012 show hosted by Charles Barkley; and had that show not been inflated largely thanks to an NFL game running over and bleeding into it, the figures for it would not even be on par. Fallon’s show brought in a massive 3.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is more than a full point above some recent shows this season. It’s also the highest-rated comedy of the week, and were it not for the finale of “The Voice,” it would be the top-rated, non-sports program of the past seven days. Very impressive for something that didn’t start airing until 11:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Unfortunately for “SNL,” it’s not really like they can look at this and think “well, we better try to get some more Timberlake.” If they had him on every week, it wouldn’t feel as special, and getting these sort of big names all depends on their availability. We feel like their next show featuring Drake as host and musical guest is an attempt to capture some similar magic, at least in that he has a history acting as well as performing, and he could be an unexpected source for great comedy. But even still, we don’t expect it to pull huge ratings. This was the holiday season, and we don’t really feel like too many viewers had other options, and didn’t want to go outside and brave the cold.