Saturday Night Live certainly knew what it was doing when locking down the always great Alec Baldwin to take over the show's Donald Trump impressions in these final weeks before the election. Not only were his and Kate McKinnon's presidential debate performances critically lauded, but the Season 42 opening segment was also enough to help give Saturday Night Live its best season premiere ratings in over two decades. And that's not the only good news for the sketch staple.
After its live airing on Saturday night/Sunday morning, the Margot Robbie-hosted SNL premiere was already the most watched premiere in almost ten years, but now that the delayed viewing numbers have been tabulated, the 11.8 million-strong audience ranks as the biggest premiere viewership in 22 years. Considering how many stellar people have taken the stage to take part in past season premieres - as in hosting, appearing and performing music - this is quite the accomplishment. And you know Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump takes all the credit and probably thinks it would have been even bigger without Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton involved.
Interestingly enough, the episode attracted the biggest Saturday Night Live audience since November of last year, when Donald Trump himself was the host. (Baldwin's version is far more amusing, though.) After the Live+3 numbers came in on Trump's ep, it had brought in just over 12 million viewers, giving it an edge of around 300,000 pairs of peepers.
Beyond just the total viewers, Saturday Night Live also saw a solid uptick in the key 18-49 adult demographic, though nothing quite as applause-worthy as a 22-year stomping. The 3.6 delayed demo rating, up from a 2.4 rating, was the biggest since Seth Meyers exited "Weekend Update" in 2014, according to THR. And it's also the largest SNL demo rating for a season premiere since Tina Fey got her Sarah Palin on back in 2008.
The episode, which also drew kind words from candidate Hillary Clinton herself, was so successful that one has to imagine Lorne Michaels and his team are doing everything possible to secure Alec Baldwin for as many upcoming appearances as possible, while maybe also seeking out other big stars to play the election season's other major players. Though the ratings might not be quite as big in the follow-up episodes, it's still best to keep striking while the Live+3 iron is hot.
Saturday Night Live airs every night of the week seen in its name, and you can find it on NBC at 11:30 p.m. To see who's going to be hosting this season, head to our updated lineup, and for all the other shows coming in the future, head over to our fall premiere schedule. And if you happen to not be one of the 11.8 million (and then some) people who caught the episode, you can watch the full Baldwin/McKinnon debate on the next page.