Betty White's 'SNL' Hosting Gig Scores for NBC

Show Gives Series Its Highest Ratings Since Episode Tied to 2008 Presidential Election

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Legendary comedienne Betty White (right) appeared in the NPR parody, 'Delicious Dish,' with 'SNL' alums Ana Gasteyer (left) and Molly Shannon.
Legendary comedienne Betty White (right) appeared in the NPR parody, 'Delicious Dish,' with 'SNL' alums Ana Gasteyer (left) and Molly Shannon. Credit: NBC

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- One doesn't normally consider Betty White and politics in the same breath, but the 88-year-old comedienne did something for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" that no one has been able to do since the last presidential campaign drew massive attention to the program in the fall of 2008.

NBC said its telecast of an "SNL" episode hosted by Ms. White and featuring musical guest Jay -Z averaged an 8.8 household rating -- the highest for the series since a broadcast on Nov. 1, 2008. That show featured host Ben Affleck and appearances by Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin just prior to the 2008 election; it scored a 9.0 rating.

The ratings are based on preliminary figures; Nielsen's final ratings for the broadcast will be available Thursday.

The show had already gotten a lot of attention due to a campaign that started on Facebook that urged "SNL" to let Ms. White host the show in the wake of a humorous appearance she made during a Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. Incidentally, that ad appeared during the "SNL" broadcast, as did a promotion for a new sitcom set to run on Viacom's TV Land cable channel that will feature Ms. White.

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