'Saturday Night Live' with Trump earns best ratings in years

Sun Nov 8, 2015 2:16pm EST
 
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By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald Trump's appearance as guest host of "Saturday Night Live" helped the TV comedy sketch show earn its highest viewership ratings since 2012, the NBC television network said on Sunday.

The show, which came under fire from Latino groups for inviting the blunt-spoken Republican presidential frontrunner to host, garnered a 6.6 rating in the 56 U.S. markets measured by Nielsen Media Research, NBC said in a statement.

The Trump show was the highest rating for SNL since Jan. 7, 2012, when an episode hosted by retired basketball star Charles Barkley pulled in a 7.0 rating, said the Comcast Corp.-owned network.

Saturday's rating was about 50 percent higher than the season premiere on Oct. 3 when Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made a cameo appearance, according to CNNMoney.com.

Ratings are a measure of the audience as a percentage of all television households, whether their sets were turned on or not during the show's time slot.

Trump's appearance received an avalanche of advance publicity when Hispanic groups objected to NBC's decision to invite the billionaire developer, saying it was legitimizing his "racist" views on immigration.

Even so, many critics say the SNL skits featuring Trump didn't quite live up to all the hype.

"Viewers tuned in to see a joyless, nearly unfunny show, which ended in a curtain call with Mr. Trump and the cast that played like a hostage video," wrote New York Times television critic James Poniewozik.   Continued...

 
Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks as Dr. Ben Carson (R) looks on at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking