"Saturday Night Live" returned in 2012 with big ratings. In fact, the January 7 episode which was hosted by Charles Barkley posted the highest average rating in local-market households in the past year with a 7.4 rating from 11:45 P.M. to 1:15 A.M.
Posting the best rating in metered-market households since Jim Carrey hosted on January 8, 2011, the recent outing also topped the last episode in 2011 which marked Jimmy Fallon's first hosting gig on the show. The December 17 episode at the time posted a season best in ratings with a 5.3 rating in metered-market households.
Although "SNL" was delayed by more than 15 minutes due to the NFL overrun, the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions may have boosted the variety show. The sport telecast itself dominated Saturday night's ratings and viewership with a 19.3 overnight rating and a 4.3 rating in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters.
The latest "SNL" episode saw Barkley returning as a host for the third time. He poked fun at fellow NBA legends, including imitating Shaquille O'Neal, and dressed in drag in some sketches. Kelly Clarkson served as the musical guest, belting out "What Doesn't Kill You" and "Mr. Know It All".
Charles Barkley imitates Shaquille O'Neal on "SNL":