SNL Puts Up Best Numbers In More Than 2 Years

Last night's edition of "Saturday Night Live," hosted by "SNL" alum and "30 Rock" star/executive producer Tina Fey and featuring musical guest Carrie Underwood, has scored the highest "SNL" average rating in more than two years in the 56 local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research.

With its first original telecast since the start of the writers' strike in November, "Saturday Night Live" delivered a 6.1 rating, 15 share in metered-market households. It's the strongest local-market average for "SNL" since February 4, 2006 with a telecast hosted by Steve Martin and featuring musical guest Prince.

"Saturday Night Live" topped the show's average for originals prior to the WGA strike by 36 percent (6.1/15 vs. 4.5/11). Versus the same night last year, SNL was up 17 percent (6.1/15 vs. 5.2/13). It was also the highest metered-market household rating for any telecast on any network for this past Saturday night, including primetime programming. In fact, "SNL" outscored every Saturday primetime telecast on every network over the last six Saturdays.

Last night's edition of "Saturday Night Live" featured appearances by Presidential candidate Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee during "Weekend Update" and Steve Martin during Tina Fey's opening monologue. Cast member Fred Armisen portrayed Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama in a sketch parodying Thursday's debate and the media's infatuation with Obama.

National ratings and demographic results for last night's "Saturday Night Live" are due from Nielsen Thursday, February 28.

Last night's edition was the first of four consecutive live broadcasts for "SNL." The show returns next week with Academy Award nominee Ellen Page ("Juno") and musical guest Wilco.