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Pete Davidson’s ‘SNL’ season debut up nearly 20% from last year

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NBC/Rosalind O’Connor

Imagine if the Swifties knew Taylor and Travis would be on? NBC says Saturday Night Live‘s 49th season debut starring Pete Davidson — and with a last-minute, hush-hush assist from Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce — saw its numbers jump 19% from last season’s debut.

The show drew 4.8 million viewers, with numbers for the 18-49 demographic jumping 31% in what’s known as “Nielsen-live-plus-same-day” numbers — that is, the audience who watched it live or streamed it the same day on Peacock.

That’s the best performance in that demo for an SNL season premiere since 2020.

On streaming, the show also had more than double the audience of last year’s season premiere on Peacock —likely after the word was out to Taylor’s fans that she and her rumored boyfriend were at Studio 8H that night.

Davidson’s SNL return was the third-highest Saturday Night Live performance on Peacock ever in a one-day viewing, following the shows on November 12, 2022, when Dave Chappelle hosted, and February 4 when Pedro Pascal was the host.

What’s more, the episode drew more than 1.2 million social media interactions, NBC tells ABC Audio — that’s the most since Nov. 13, 2021, when Jonathan Majors hosted and the musical guest was…Taylor Swift.

If one wanted to get a glimpse of how many eyeballs Taylor could have gotten if her brief appearance to introduce last Saturday night’s musical act was foretold, check out Saturday Night Live‘s clip of the three-second-long moment on Instagram: Her four words: “Once again, Ice Spice” translated to nearly 185,000 views and counting.

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