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'SNL' bids adieu to Campaign 2008 with high ratings

November 4, 2008 | 11:43 am

Happy the presidential campaign is ending? We bet the folks at NBC aren't.

Grabbing a last chance for campaign laughs — and high ratings — NBC devoted the bulk of its prime time on Monday to a two-hour "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008," a mix of new material and old clips from the comedy show that's hit new levels of popularity this fall with topical sketches, led by Tina Fey's impersonation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

And the people voted with their remotes. "SNL" won the night with a total of 14.4 million total viewers and a 5.6 rating/13 share among viewers ages 18 to 49, according to early returns from Nielsen Media Research. It was NBC's best performance in this Monday time slot since the Golden Globe Awards in January 2007.

The "Presidential Bash" didn't do quite as well as an election-eve "SNL" in 2004 (when the program scored a 5.9/15), but that's probably attributable to the general viewership decline of broadcast TV over the last four years rather than any "SNL"-specific erosion.

Given the struggles NBC and other broadcasters are having driving viewers to new shows this fall, networks will probably take their victories however they can get them.

— Scott Collins