The 30+ year wait for Eddie Murphy’s be back on the SNL was definitely must see TV. His stint as the final host for 2019 gifted SNL with its highest ratings delivery in 2.5 years. Murphy hosted SNL delivered a 2.5 rating in coveted adults 18-49 demo and 9.9 million viewers overall in Live+Same Day, per Nielsen’s “fast official” numbers ordered by NBC. To put that audience size in context, that SNL‘s 2.5 adult 18-49 rating ties the September Season 2 premiere of Fox’s Masked Singer as the #1 highest-rated entertainment series telecast this season in 18-49 L+SD on any network across all dayparts, including primetime. Interestingly, Murphy’s Buckwheat appeared in a Masked Singer skit. Murphy hosted SNL was the highest-rated comedy telecast on any network since the series finale of CBS’ Big Bang Theory on May 16 (3.2).
Jam packed with some of SNL’s fan favorite former cast members this episode featured Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin, Larry David, Maya Rudolph, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen and Rachel Dratch. This was the highest-rated and most watched episode of Saturday Night Live since the May 13, 2017 telecast, hosted by Melissa McCarthy with musical guest HAIM (2.7 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers).
Murphy managed to eclipse Will Ferrell hosted SNL episode a few weeks prior, which had delivered the show’s biggest ratings so far this season. Viewership continued to grow — about 29% of SNL’s total viewed minutes during the 2018-19 season came on digital platforms through short-form videos and full-episode views.
As of first Sunday morning, three clips have crossed the 1 million views mark, Murphy’s monologue, the episode’s Democratic debate-themed Cold Open and Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood.