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Respectable Start for ‘SNL: Weekend Update’ on NBC

Part 2 of 'The Story of Diana' Leads ABC to Thursday Overnight Victory

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Household Rating/Share
ABC: 3.2/ 6, CBS: 3.0/ 6, NBC: 2.6/ 5, Fox: 1.7/ 3, CW: 1.0/ 2

Note: Comparisons to the year-ago evening are excluded since NBC aired the 2016 Summer Olympics.

-Ratings Breakdown:
The second (and final) part of documentary “The Story of Diana” led ABC to a rare Thursday overnight victory, with a 4.0 rating/7 share in households from 9-11 p.m. Comparably, this was right on track with the 4.2/ 8 in the overnights for part one on Wednesday, which translated into 5.43 million viewers and a 0.7 rating/3 share in adults 18-49, based on the Live + Same Day data. It also was 129 percent above the combination of “The Battle of the Network Stars” (1.9/ 3) and “The Gong Show” (1.6/ 3) one week earlier.

In premiere news, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Edition” opened with a very respectable 3.7/ 7 (#2) in the 9 p.m. half-hour, which was the network’s highest metered market household rating in the time period since “Chicago Med” on May 11th. It was also 28 percent above lead-in “The Wall,” which moved into the 8 p.m. hour with a second-place 2.9/ 5. Unfortunately, NBC did not get the sampling it had hoped for sitcom “Great News,” which dipped to a 1.6/ 3 (#3t) for an encore telecast at 9:30 p.m. This fall, “Great News” airs out of the return of “Will & Grace,” which has now been greenlit for two seasons.

In the battle of the original scripted dramas at 10 p.m., “The Night Shift” on NBC (#2: 2.2/ 4) bested “Zoo” on CBS (1.7/ 3) by 29 percent. But both could not compete with ABC’s aforementioned “The Story of Diana.”

Elsewhere, ABC’s “Boy Band” was lost in the 8 p.m. hour, with a 1.7/ 3. Fox’s just renewed “Love Connection” dipped to a 1.5/ 3 at 9 p.m. out of a 1.8/ 3 for also renewed lead-in “Beat Shazam.” And “Big Brother” on CBS was consistent at a 3.8/ 7 (#1) in the 9 p.m. hour. Note to Allison Grodner: Thank you for banning Josh from his obnoxious pots and pans interruptions!

What follows is the breakdown by half-hour for Thursday, August 10:

8:00 p.m.
ABC – “Boy Band”: 1.9/ 4 (#3)
CBS – “The Big Bang Theory” (R): 4.0/ 7 (#1)
NBC – “The Wall” (new time period): 2.8/ 5 (#2)
Fox – “Beat Shazam”: 1.8/ 3 (#4)
CW – “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”: 1.1/ 2 (#5)

8:30 p.m.
ABC – “Boy Band”: 1.6/ 3 (#4)
CBS – “Kevin Can Wait” (R): 2.9/ 5 (#2)
NBC – “The Wall” (new time period): 3.0/ 5 (#1)
Fox – “Beat Shazam”: 1.8/ 3 (#3)
CW – “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”: 1.1/ 2 (#5)

9:00 p.m.
ABC – “The Story of Diana” (part two): 3.5/ 6 (#3)
CBS – “Big Brother”: 3.9/ 7 (#1)
NBC – “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” (premiere): 3.7/ 7 (#2)
Fox – “Love Connection”: 1.5/ 3 (#4)
CW – “Whose Line is it Anyway?”: 0.9/ 2 (#5)

9:30 p.m.
ABC – “The Story of Diana” (part two): 3.9/ 7 (#1)
CBS – “Big Brother”: 3.7/ 7 (#2)
NBC – “Great News” (R): 1.6/ 3 (#3t)
Fox – “Love Connection”: 1.6/ 3 (#43t
CW – “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (R): 0.8/ 1 (#5)

10:00 p.m.
ABC – “The Story of Diana” (part two): 4.2/ 8 (#1)
CBS – “Zoo”: 1.8/ 3 (#3)
NBC – “The Night Shift”: 2.2/ 4 (#2)

10:30 p.m.
ABC – “The Story of Diana” (part two): 4.3/ 8 (#1)
CBS – “Zoo”: 1.6/ 3 (#3)
NBC – “The Night Shift”: 2.2/ 4 (#2)

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. I still think it is a big mistake for NBC to put Will & Grace in the middle of those mediocre sitcoms.

    • Will & Grace is going to fit right in with the mediocre because its only going to have mediocre at best ratings.

      • I think that initial sampling will be quite large, relative to today’s tv landscape but not sure if it will maintain any momentum.

        • Yeah the sampling is going to be large regardless of what the lead-ins score in week 1, the momentum is the problem here especially when Mom goes into that timeslot and after the TNF break in January.

    • I think they are minimizing the chances for it to break out, that’s for sure. NBC would have been better off with only an hour of comedy on Thursday (Will and Grace included) and sticking with a pair of Chicago shows from 9-11. I would’ve put another hour of comedy on Wednesday at 8 and shipped The Blacklist to Fridays and not renewed one of the other low rated shows on that night.

      • But I like W&G at 9 better than the original line up that NBC announced hat had W&G up against TBBT. That would have been a waste.

          • Good topic Louis and I agree with you guys I don’t like W&G in the middle of a lineup of comedy losers regardless of the timeslot but I still like the 9pm slot better than 8pm just because of the BBT factor.

            My only problem with W&G it’s going to have to do a job like Chicago Med did all year picking the ratings back up at 9pm behind some low-rated comedies and Great News won’t help it. Chicago Fire airing at 10pm should’ve been taken better advantage of with a really good promising new multi-cam comedy airing at 9:30pm, I would’ve waited to air Marlon like some other people have suggested in the past.

            W&G will do well regardless but it could’ve been much bigger had NBC not put losers around it.

            • I wonder if it would have done better leading off Tuesday night with a new comedy sandwiched between it and This Is Us.

              • I was thinking about Tuesday way before the schedule came out because I was thinking it would’ve been better for NBC to just go with an hour for W&G. Tuesdays at 8pm would’ve been a much more safer option than Thursdays in a two-hour block.

  2. Just like these pre-emptions I myself was watching preseason football as I’m glad BOTNS didn’t air this week as I got a chance to watch the full game that was on in my area. SNL’s rating is encouraging for NBC regardless of how it drops in finals because people showed up and watched it and it looks like they had bigger turnout here than they had for their comedies that aired this past season.

    NBC might want to make a switch here and put SNL in that Thursday block, I think Marlon should’ve gone in there too but it’s too late now since it’s premiering next week and is likely not going to have episodes ready for the 28th of September.

  3. Keep in mind that not matter how Will & Grace does, it will be an improvement over any sitcom NBC has aired in years. But what worries me is they are ignoring the series finale 11 years ago and are going to open with the two characters still living together. That, in my opinion, will not work. The writers need to have these characters progress and not have Jack and Karen rushing in an acting like complete idiots. I am already bored thinking of it.

    • I believe so too it’s gonna improve the NBC comedy situation big-time they just need better supporting comedies around it. I’m not sure how it will work if they weren’t living together honestly, it would be a different show which isn’t bad as Fuller House pulled it off very well but W&G is different it’s built around that scenario.