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Saturday Night Live scores its highest season-closing overnights in seven years

The 36th season finale of “Saturday Night Live” has scored the highest metered-market household average for an “SNL” season-closer in seven years and equaled the highest in 11 years, according to household ratings averages in the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research. Last night’s telecast, hosted by Justin Timberlake and featuring musical guest Lady Gaga, generated a 21 percent increase over last year’s season finale, marking the fourth year in a row “SNL” has matched or topped the season finale of the prior year.

The finale averaged a 7.0/17 HH rating/share in the overnights and a 4.5/18 A18-49 rating/share in the overnights. The complete press release is included after the jump.

‘SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’ SCORES ITS HIGHEST SEASON-CLOSING OVERNIGHTS IN SEVEN YEARS

HOSTED BY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND FEATURING MUSICAL GUEST LADY GAGA, ‘SNL’ GROWS BY 21 PERCENT VS. THE YEAR-AGO FINALE

THE MAY 21 ‘SNL’ AVERAGES A 7.0 RATING IN METERED-MARKET HOUSEHOLDS, MATCHING THE 2004 SEASON-ENDER AS ‘SNL’S’ HIGHEST-RATED SINCE 2000

‘SNL’ HAS NOW EQUALED OR TOPPED THE PRIOR YEAR’S FINALE FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS IN A ROW

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 22, 2011 – The 36th season finale of “Saturday Night Live” has scored the highest metered-market household average for an “SNL” season-closer in seven years and equaled the highest in 11 years, according to household ratings averages in the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research. Last night’s telecast, hosted by Justin Timberlake and featuring musical guest Lady Gaga, generated a 21 percent increase over last year’s season finale, marking the fourth year in a row “SNL” has matched or topped the season finale of the prior year.

The May 21 edition of “Saturday Night Live” averaged a 7.0 rating, 17 share in metered-market household averages, highest for an “SNL” season finale since May 15, 2004, when a telecast hosted by the Olsen Twins and featuring musical guest J-Kwon also averaged a 7.0. The last time an “SNL” season-ender scored higher than a 7.0 was on May 20, 2000, when an edition hosted by Jackie Chan and featuring musical guest Kid Rock earned a 7.3 rating in metered-market households. The year-ago finale scored a 5.8/14 in the local markets and for both the two years before that, the season-closer earned a 5.4. The 2007 finale averaged a 4.9.

Last night’s “Saturday Night Live” was the #1 telecast of the night in metered-market households ahead of all primetime programming on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, “Saturday Night Live” averaged a 4.5 rating, 18 share, making it the #1 telecast of the night on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. Versus the year-ago season finale, “SNL” was up 32 percent in the Local People Meters (4.5 vs. 3.4).

National ratings, demographic results and viewer totals for last night’s “Saturday Night Live” are due from Nielsen Thursday, May 26.

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