“Saturday Night Live” seized on a turbulent presidential campaign and an even more tumultuous presidency to bring about what is now their most-viewed season in 23 years. It was a season marked by sketches that made its audience laugh and the new President angry, thanks in part to spot on impersonations from Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy.
Now, after one of its most successful seasons, the question that remains is, how will “SNL” top itself next season?
Baldwin’s mockery of Donald Trump and McCarthy’s take on Sean Spicer contributed to the some of the Internet’s most viral moments this season. But can the show keep up its ratings boom if Baldwin retires his Trump wig and puckered lips?
For his part, Baldwin would love to continue his Trump role, but that all depends on his schedule.
“I’d love to keep doing this per my availability, but I have other things I’m going to do, so I guess we’ll figure it out,” Baldwin told the Hollywood Reporter. “I have a lot of things I’m supposed to do. I’m sure [‘SNL’ creator Lorne Michaels] will find ways to kill them.”
Season 42’s success was arguably carried by one of its biggest cast members Kate McKinnon, whose White House impersonations include Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions. She also lampooned candidate Hillary Clinton during the campaign season.
The rest of the season’s success, however, came from outsiders Baldwin and McCarthy, who ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in ratings when they hosted. And with all due respect to Tom Hanks’ David S. Pumpkins, the show also didn’t have many popular sketches aside from the ones based on the antics of Trump and his administration.
This season averaged 7.5 million viewers for its live shows on Saturday nights, which balloons to 10.8 million viewers when you account for those who watch within a week of the original airing. That number is up 32% from last year and gives the series its most watched season since 1993-94.
The show did this by not just…