Are the Saturday Night Live ratings still strong in the age of Donald Trump inundation? This is a question that will likely be asked often this season.
Through the first episode of season 43, though, we’d say that the results are somewhat mixed. With more than 7 million viewers for the premiere episode, this was (excluding the premiere last year in the heat of the election) the most-watched start to the season since 2010. The show also generated a solid 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic — we’ve seen better performances here, but this is also early in the fall and there may still be many people out there who are enjoying other activities in the fall and don’t want to sit down and watch television just yet.
One of the things that probably hurt the show’s ratings slightly was the lack of a notable newsworthy host. Ryan Gosling did a good job (even if he breaks character all the time), but he’s not someone especially topical. You may get that a little more with Gal Gadot as host next weekend, mostly due to the fact that this is her first time hosting the show so there is a little bit more of an unknown factor that goes with her being around. Beyond her we also have another first-time host in Kumail Nanjiani — he is probably one of our favorite working actors/comedians, but we have to wait and see what some of the widespread appeal is going to be with him on the show. (He’s most notable this year for starring in and co-writing The Big Sick, one of the best-reviewed movies of the entire year.)
As for the musical guest, JAY-Z is always going to be a draw just because of his status as one of the biggest rappers of all time. Yet, we do still think that he would’ve been a little bit more notable as a host for the show in the event that the show was on the air around a month or two ago when some of his latest music was at the height of its pop-culture relevance this year. We do get why the show didn’t want to turn away at an opportunity to get him on board still, mostly because it’s JAY-Z! If you have a chance to get a performer of his magnitude on the show, you obviously take it.
Remember that in general SNL ratings go far beyond what it draws on the air. This is a show that also gets good DVR viewership and its watched often on YouTube and other social channels.
What do you think about the Saturday Night Live ratings to start the season?
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