NBC Photo: Dana Edelson
NBC Photo: Dana Edelson
Saturday Night Live scored its latest ratings coup last night, with a two-hour, prime-time special, Presidential Bash 2008, that brought 50 percent more viewers to the 9 p.m. Monday hour than NBC's usual resident: Heroes.
The SNL show averaged 14.4 million overall, Nielsen estimates said, second only to ABC's Dancing With the Stars (17.8 million). Among adults 18-49, it was Monday's No. 1 telecast. (Last night's numbers will be reflected in next week's rankings.)
Heroes, meanwhile, is due to return next week, for its sake, with Super Joe Biden on board.
Elsewhere, Miley Cyrus can still mobilize her base, plus nine other lessons from the latest Nielsen rankings and stats:
1. The tween crown does not yet belong to Selena Gomez. The third-season opener of Cyrus' Hannah Montana (5.5 million) was cable's most-watched series, as well as the Disney Channel show's highest-rated premiere yet.
2. Heroes (8.2 million viewers last week) isn't merely a fading hit among adults 18-49; overall, it can barely match the drawing power of The Biggest Loser (8.13 million).
3. ABC's Grey's Anatomy (15.3 million) may be experiencing Heroes-like turmoil, but it's still TV's biggest draw among women 18-34, and a top-five draw among adults 18-49.
4. Judging ratings against history, even last year's history, is increasingly a waste of time. So, the bottom line on the historically low-rated World Series should be that it led Fox to two straight weekly wins among adults 18-49.
5. Moldy old baseball is more desirable than Chace Crawford. The Fall Classic's decisive Game 5 (19.8 million)—make that, the decisive final innings of Game 5, as seen on Wednesday—drew more women 18-34 than either One Tree Hill, Dancing With the Stars or, yes, Gossip Girl.
6. There's life still in King of the Hill (8.5 million). Days after being canceled by Fox, the 'toon went out and put up its best numbers in a year. ABC is reportedly eyeing a pickup.
7. There's life still in Fox's The Simpsons (12.4 million), which celebrated its latest "Treehouse of Terror" with its most-watched, non-Super-Bowl-night episode in more than four years.
8. There's even life still in the daytime soap. The threat of a tornado decimating Pine Valley scared up All My Children's biggest weekly audience (2.7 million) in eight months, ABC said.
9. Cable does not live by tween viewers alone. The season closer of Lifetime's Army Wives (3.9 million) was cable's most-watched prime-time scripted show. (After Hannah Montana, natch.)
10. So, maybe the Internet isn't killing TV ratings after all. A new Nielsen study says people who use the most Internet also watch the most TV, sometimes doing both "activities" at the same time, thereby ensuring they'll never, ever get a life.
Here's a rundown of the most-watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research: