Fast National ratings for Sunday, February 15, 2015.
Viewers didn't seem to care that it wasn't Saturday night and it wasn't actually the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live.” NBC's “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” did the sort of huge numbers normally reserved for an award show or a football game and topped the combined totals for its network competition in all measures.
The “SNL” special ran from 8 to 11:30, so these are only the three-hour numbers for primetime, but the three-hour figures include a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49, a whopping 9.2 rating among adults 25-54 and a 6.1 rating among adults 18-34.
NBC is calling this the network's most-watched primetime entertainment telecast, excluding post-Super Bowl programs (and also sports), in the 18-49 demo since the “Will & Grace” finale in 2006.
There was basically no way for the network competition to keep up with that, though ABC rode three hours of “Bachelor” specials to second in the key demo, while FOX rode the “Mulaney” finale to fourth.
And while it's unclear if CBS will give “CSI” one more season, the current installment went out with a whimper, though it still helped CBS to second place overall.
On to the numbers…
Among adults 18-49, NBC averaged a 6.6 rating for Sunday primetime, tops in the key demographic. ABC's 1.5 rating, CBS' 1.1 rating and FOX's 0.8 rating followed for the night in the key demographic.
Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 20.14 million viewers and an 11.0 rating/18 share for Sunday primetime. CBS was a distant second with 7.67 million viewers and a 4.7/8, topping ABC's 6.04 million viewers and a 3.8/6. FOX averaged 1.995 million viewers and a 1.1/2 for the night.
7 p.m. – The “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” red carpet averaged 11.13 million viewers and a 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 to rule the 7 p.m. hour for NBC. CBS' “60 Minutes” was second with 10.4 million viewers and third with a 1.2 key demo rating, compared to the 6.57 million viewers and 1.4 key demo rating for ABC's “America's Funniest Home Videos.” On FOX, the season [series] finale of “Mulaney” (1.11 million and a 0.4 key demo) and a repeat of “The Simpsons” (1.485 million and a 0.6 key demo).
8 p.m. – NBC's “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” peaked in viewers in the 8 p.m. hour with 25.65 million and tied for its peak with an 8.3 rating among adults 18-49. CBS' “Undercover Boss” averaged 6.31 million viewers for second and a 0.9 key demo rating for fourth, compared to the 5.62 million viewers and 1.5 key demo rating for ABC's “The Bachelor” special. FOX followed with new episodes of “The Simpsons” (2.75 million and a 1.1 key demo) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2.14 million and a 0.9 key demo).
9 p.m. – The “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” averaged 23.97 million viewers and an 8.3 rating among adults 18-49 to dominate the 9 p.m. hour for NBC. Another “Undercover Boss” hour averaged 6.99 million viewers for second and a 1.1 key demo rating for third, while ABC's “The Bachelor” ticked up to 5.96 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating. FOX was fourth with “Family Guy” (2.51 million and a 1.2 key demo) and “Bob's Burgers” (1.99 million and a 0.9 key demo rating).
10 p.m. – The last primetime hour of “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” was down to 19.81 million viewers and a 6.9 rating among adults 18-49 for NBC, leading the 10 p.m. hour. CBS' “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” finale averaged 6.98 million viewers and a 1.1 key demo rating, compared to the 5.99 million viewers and 1.5 key demo rating for yet another “Bachelor” hour on ABC.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.