Will Ferrell's return bumps ratings for 'SNL'

NEW YORK — Judging by the ratings, NBC will be happy to invite old friend Will Ferrell back to "Saturday Night Live" whenever he wants.

The late-night comedy show reached 7.47 million viewers for this past weekend's show with Ferrell as host, the Nielsen company said. It was the most-watched episode of "Saturday Night Live" this season. Chris Stapleton was the musical guest on the night before he won three Grammy Awards.

The news wasn't so good for the Grammys, which saw its audience slip to 19.8 million viewers for CBS on Sunday. That's down 24 percent from last year.

Music's big night was missing some of its biggest stars, with popular mainstream artists Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift not a part of the broadcast. Bruno Mars was the top winner with six Grammys.

The two network feel-good series, ABC's "The Good Doctor" and NBC's "This is Us,' showed their strength with original episodes and finished among Nielsen's top five for the week.

CBS easily won the week in prime time, averaging 8.5 million viewers. ABC had 4.6 million viewers, NBC had 4.2 million, Fox had 3 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, the CW had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.1 million.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.79 million viewers in prime time as it celebrates 16 consecutive years atop the cable news ratings. MSNBC had 1.8 million, HGTV averaged 1.63 million, USA had 1.57 million and History had 1.48 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.6 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 9.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.9 million.

For the week of Jan. 22-28, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Grammy Awards," CBS, 19.8 million; "NCIS," CBS, 13.97 million; "Bull," CBS, 11.08 million; "The Good Doctor," ABC, 9.61 million; "This is Us," NBC, 9.38 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 9.31 million; "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 8.62 million; "Ellen's Game of Games," NBC, 7.57 million; "Kevin Can Wait," CBS, 7.37 million; "Grammy Awards Red Carpet," CBS, 6.96 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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