'SNL' banks biggest premiere ratings in 8 years

Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” opened its 42nd season to its biggest premiere ratings in eight years.

Hosted by “Suicide Squad” star Margot Robbie with musical guest The Weeknd, the sketch show’s overnight live- and same-day-viewership rating showed a 29% increase over last year’s season premiere, according to early Nielsen measurements of households in 56 local markets.

That also means Saturday’s episode ranks as its highest-rated season premiere since 2008, an election year when Michael Phelps hosted with musical guest Lil Wayne and alum Tina Fey appeared as then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

More ratings information will be released later this week, which will include total viewership.

This weekend’s “SNL” return included several big draws, including the debut of Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, Larry David’s reprisal of his Bernie Sanders impression, and some curiosity after three cast members were fired earlier this year and then replaced by three newcomers this season.

An earlier version of this article reported that James Brolin, not Michael Phelps, hosted in 2008 with Lil Wayne.

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