Yuge!: 'SNL' sees biggest premiere audience in 8 years thanks to Baldwin's Trump

'Saturday Night Live' returns with Baldwin's Trump facing off against McKinnon's Clinton
'Saturday Night Live' returns with Baldwin's Trump facing off against McKinnon's Clinton

Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump gave "Saturday Night Live" an election bump. Bigly.

The premiere of this season of "SNL" brought in an average of 8.3 million viewers on Saturday night, according to Nielsen data. That was a bump of 31%, or nearly 2 million viewers, compared to last season's opener.

The big viewership was also the largest audience for an "SNL" premiere since 2008. That year's season premiere, which included Tina Fey playing vice president candidate Sarah Palin, brought in 10.2 million viewers.

Saturday's show, which was hosted by Margot Robbie and had musical guest The Weeknd, had a lot of attention surrounding it thanks in large part to the debut of Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump.

Related: Big names, big viewership: 'Saturday Night Live' gets ready to mock Trump and Clinton

Baldwin's Trump opened the show in a debate sketch against Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton which garnered big laughs from the audience and favorable reviews from critics.

But Baldwin's Trump couldn't beat out the real thing. The businessman turned presidential candidate drew 9.3 million viewers last November when he hosted.

The premiere also included a surprise appearance from Larry David reprising his role as Senator Bernie Sanders for a "Family Feud" sketch that pitted Team Trump vs. Team Clinton.

"SNL" has historically been on the pulse of the nation during election years, which gathers the show more attention, but not always more viewers.

In 2004 and 2012, the show didn't experience any significant ratings bumps. But in 2008 "SNL" saw its overall average viewership grow nearly 3 million viewers from the year before.


CNNMoney Sponsors