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‘SNL’ Hits 7-Year Ratings High With Melissa McCarthy’s Return as Sean Spicer

Variety logo Variety 5/14/2017 Joe Otterson
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“Saturday Night Live” continued its ratings winning streak this week, with the most recent episode delivering the most-watched May telecast of the series in the past seven years.

This week’s episode, which featured host Melissa McCarthy’s return as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, averaged a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen overnight data. The previous best May episode aired in 2011, with host Justin Timberlake and musical guest Lady Gaga drawing a 3.7 rating.

It’s also the number two episode of the season in total viewers, behind only the Feb. 11 edition, which drew 10.8 million and featured host Alec Baldwin, and the number three episode of the season in the key demo, behind only the Feb. 11 episode and the Nov. 12 episode with host Dave Chappelle.

In addition, the demo rating is good enough to tie with the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” as the highest-rated broadcast show of the week.

The long-running NBC sketch series has thrived in the ratings thanks in large part to regular appearances by McCarthy as Spicer and Baldwin as President Donald Trump, with this season up 25% in the demo and 31% in total viewers compared to the same point last year. It is currently averaging just under 11 million viewers per episode, counting delayed viewing, making it the most watched season since 1993.

The network and executive producer Lorne Michaels have decided to air the final four episodes of this season live in all time zones. The Season 42 finale airs next week with host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and musical guest Katy Perry.

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