SNL's 40th Snags Monster Ratings 23.1M tuned in for 3.5-hour extravaganza By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff Posted Feb 16, 2015 12:58 PM CST 19 comments Comments Justin Timberlake, Billy Crystal, and Jimmy Fallon arrive at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) (Newser) – Some 23.1 million Americans tuned in last night for Saturday Night Live's three-and-a-half-hour 40th anniversary tribute to itself, reports Deadline, in the biggest ratings coup for an NBC primetime entertainment special in the decade since a Friends clip show pulled in 36.9 million people on the night of the series finale. It's also NBC's most watched primetime entertainment show since ER scored 23.9 million on the night of Frasier's 2004 finale. Those numbers exclude post-Super Bowl programs, notes the AP. SNL's red carpet special alone hooked 11.1 million viewers. The 40th anniversary special gave last night's NBA All-Star Game some serious competition, notes ESPN, though final numbers aren't yet out.