Saturday Night Live hit some high marks for the season this week with host James Franco and musical guest SZA. The show managed a 4.5 household Live+Same Day rating in the metered markets, and a 2.1 in adults 18-49. That's the highest Live+Same Day rating since Larry David hosted on Nov. 4, which got a 4.7. Their ratings with adults 18-49 is the highest since Oct. 14, when Kumail Nanjiani hosted, which had a 2.2.
The show was miles ahead of any other live telecasts this weekend — even sporting events. Although SNL is a renowned institution in the world of television and comedy, it sometimes has a hard time maintaining an audience for its live late-night show every week. More and more, they depend on viewers who watch recordings of the show later in the week, or clips that get shared through YouTube.
Franco has the star power to put their audience above average for the week, and it helps that his HBO original series The Deuce is such a hit right now. Another advantage to hiring Franco as host is that he comes with so many famous friends. SNL made use of that, including Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill in Franco's opening monologue. Just to add some unpredictability, they threw Steve Martin in as well.
However, the real draw of the week might have been the musical guest, SZA. The 28-year-old singer had a break-out year, with the massive success of her debut album, "Ctrl," and her collaboration with acts like Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott. In the opening monologue, even Seth Rogen jokingly confesses that he's there to see SZA more than his friend James Franco.