NBC’s 45-year-old sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live lost 30 percent of its 18-49 2018 opener viewership, as Alec Baldwin’s Trump was front and center in the show’s 45th season premiere.
The season premiere limped out of the gate on Saturday, despite boasting the acclaimed Woody Harrelson as its host, and returning favorites like beloved former cast member Maya Rudolph, Larry David (as Democrat socialist Bernie Sanders), and Baldwin impersonating President Trump.
The show has also suffered a 15 percent loss in overall viewership compared to its 2018 season. The show’s cold open featured Baldwin as a distraught Trump, calling SNL alum Kate McKinnon’s Rudy Giuliani for comfort regarding the Ukraine controversy.
“Nobody’s gonna find out about our illegal side dealings with the Ukraine,” Giuliani reassured Trump. “Or how we tried to cover up those side dealings. Or how we planned to cover up the cover up.”
“Where are you right now?” Trump asked. “I’m on CNN right now,” Giuliani responded. Trump then moved through an escalating series of calls, culminating in a conversation with Liev Schreiber — fictional Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan, of Showtime’s eponymous series.
Baldwin has previously asserted that he is done playing his parody of the POTUS, after a decline in ratings and the departure of two Saturday Night Live writers. He has even previously said he hated the role, and wished “a meteor would kill me.”
“I feel like I’m done with that now. I’m so done with that,” Baldwin told USA Today. “When [former head writers] Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider wrote, that was new, it was fresh and the ratings were good.” It remains to be seen whether the show will recover from its latest slump, but the dependable well of puckered-lip political satire seems to be drying up.