‘Saturday Night Live’ Kicks Off New Season But Sees Major Decline in Ratings

by Chris Haney

The 47th season of Saturday Night Live aired this weekend with actor Owen Wilson hosting, but the show saw a major decline in viewers compared to last season’s debut episode.

The famous comedy skit show saw its ratings decrease 35 percent in comparison to last season’s first show. The New York Post shared that Saturday’s debut show drew only 3.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen rating reports.

Wilson hosted SNL while country music star Kacey Musgraves performed as the musical guest. Musgraves made headlines for what she wore during one of her two performed songs, or more accurately what she didn’t wear. The singer went fully nude except for the cowboy boots on her feet and an acoustic guitar in front of her. Even the risqué performance couldn’t pull viewers in for the lackluster 47th season debut.

There are multiple factors that may have led to the season premiere ratings decline. It may have something to do with last year’s political climate since the nation was in the middle of a heated presidential election. Add that to the fact that comedian and actor Chris Rock opened up Season 46 as host. He’s arguably a larger draw than Wilson, especially since he used to be a Saturday Night Live cast member. Rock helped bring in millions of viewers more compared to last year’s debut episode.

While SNL‘s ratings definitely plummeted, the outlet also explained that viewership often drops after an election cycle. However, a ratings increase is expected when Kim Kardashian West hosts the show this coming weekend with musical guest Halsey on Oct. 9.

‘Saturday Night Live’ Announces Two Cast Members Who Left the Show

Last week before the 47th season premiere of Saturday Night Live, the show revealed that two of its members would leave the cast.

Beck Bennett, who starred on SNL for eight seasons, confirmed his departure from the series on Instagram last Monday. “Love you, SNL. Gonna miss you so much. Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that changed my life. I had so much fun,” Bennett wrote in his heartfelt post.

A TVLine report also shared that cast member Lauren Holt would not return as well. She made her first appearance on Saturday Night Live last season, but never found her footing on the show. Holt exits after only one season on the show.

In addition, the source confirmed that the new season will have 21 cast members, including three newcomers. The newest comedians to join are Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman. Fan favorites like Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Pete Davidson have all returned for Saturday Night Live’s newest season. Michael Che, Aidy Bryant, Colin Jost, Alex Moffat, Kenan Thompson, and Kyle Mooney will also return to the SNL cast.