|You know, this guy.|
However, it wasn't as a rousing success as you may have thought. The prodigal son returning actually was somehow cause for the show to reach a new low. Per ratings data compiled by known erroneous TV number crunchers Nielsen, this past Saturday's SNL was the lowest-rated episode in the all-important (read: advertiser important) 18-49 demographic in the show's entire history, as Deadline points out. (Technically, Charlize Theron's May 2014 episode first achieved this ratings low; Hader's episode matched it.)
We know Hader's episode is the lowest rated, but what about other SNL alums who return to host? How'd they do in recent years? Hader notched a 3.8 rating in metered-market households (all you care about is the number; the higher the better). The last SNL alum to host was Andy Samburg, who starred in May's season finale and scored a 4.0 demo rating. Not terrible. Jimmy Fallon hosted the Christmas episode. 6.3 in the demo. Tina Fey hosted the season premiere. 4.7. You can see how bad this makes Bill Hader look. Which, to be clear, is bad. Pretty damn bad.
However those alums are much more famous than Hader, who has only begun his serious turn in film, and is definitely talented enough to be a bigger star. As for next week, Jim Carrey, the really famous, really crazy guy hosts. You can bet there will be stories talking about how good the ratings are.
Ratings are dumb.