March 4, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

‘Bridgerton’ star Regé-Jean Page’s heat boosts ‘SNL’ ratings

“Saturday Night Live” was burning for “Bridgerton” breakout star Regé-Jean Page, who brought the heat and the ratings to the sketch comedy this weekend.

The “smoldering, sensual, smoke show of a man” — his words, not just ours — saw his streaming-service prowess carry over to broadcast television in his debut as “SNL” host.

The long-running NBC show continued its ascent with viewers after experiencing a brief comedown since comedian Dave Chappelle took it to an all-time ratings high after the U.S. presidential election. The show also reached a personal milestone this weekend.

The show increased its ratings from last week, according to NBC, climbing from a 4.1 household rating when Regina King hosted on Feb. 13 to a 4.2 household live and same-day rating with Page. That means that 4.2% of households with a TV watched the program in the 44 metered local markets measured by Nielsen. The show also posted a 2.0 household rating in the age 18-49 demographic in the 25 markets with local people meters.

NBC also said that for the first time in its 46-season history, “SNL” was ranked No. 1 among all comedies this week on both broadcast and cable in the adults 18-49 demographic and total viewers so far. It’s the first time in Nielsen measurement history — since 1987 — that “SNL” has ranked as the No. 1 comedy series in total viewers. Those figures factor in same-day ratings with seven additional days of DVR and on-demand viewing added in.

But enough about math. Let’s get back to Page, who spoofed his swoon-worthy Duke of Hastings persona during the show’s opening monologue. The British actor played it up to the delight of “SNL” stars Aidy Bryant and Ego Nwodim, who volunteered themselves as seductive show liaisons, and Chloe Fineman, who brought her pitch-perfect Daphne Bridgerton to the stage.

But Page rebuffed their advances, telling them he’s actually “kind of a nerd” — one who randomly sings ballads like “Unchained Melody” and smolders into the camera for dramatic effect. He also delivered the duke’s signature line — “I burn for you” — with the same verve as in the Netflix drama.

Page also reprised the role in a sketch spoofing the intimacy coordinators heavily involved in “Bridgerton” and took on new characters in a Sea Shanty musical and Nwodim’s quarantine music video “Loco,” both of which featured cameos from the show’s musical guest, Bad Bunny.

Page’s other skits included a talk-show with Kenan Thompson as a British Ice Cube, a prayer battle between Black and white suburban families, an off-the-wall in-person job interview and notably, the Gen Z-targeted sketch about grown men’s love for Olivia Rodrigo‘s “Drivers License.”

Rodrigo tweeted her enthusiasm about the “SNL” sketch, saying it was “the best birthday present ever.”

As usual, the cold open was a conflation of in-the-news people and events: Fineman starred as singer Britney Spears hosting the “Oops, You Did It Again” talk show with guests who have found themselves in hot water this week: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Aidy Bryant), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Pete Davidson) and former “The Mandalorian” actress Gina Carano (Cecily Strong).