Eddie Murphy's return to Saturday Night Live paid off well for NBC.
According to the "fast official" Nielsen numbers ordered by NBC, last night's episode had 9.921 million Live+Same Day viewers and pulled in a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. Per Deadline, it was SNL's highest-rated episode in two-and-a-half years. The numbers should come as no surprise, considering it was the former-SNL staple and comedic superstar's first appearance as the show's host since 1984. This was commemorated by appearances from Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, and more. Murphy also reprised some of his classic SNL characters for the show.
The combination of Eddie Murphy and musical guest Lizzo was the most-watched episode since the May 13, 2017 installment, which was hosted by Melissa McCarthy with musical guest HAIM. The 2.5 rating with adults 18-49 ties the season 2 premiere of Fox’s Masked Singer for this age demographic's highest-rated entertainment show. It was also the highest-rated comedy telecast for any network since the series finale of CBS’ Big Bang Theory in May.
Adam Driver is set to host the first show of 2020, with Halsey set as the musical guest. But if it were up to SNL, they'd probably want Murphy to return every week. That won't happen of course, but if fans want their Murphy fix, catch him in Dolemite is My Name, which is currently streaming on Netflix.