SNL Versions of Elaine Quijano, Brooke Baldwin Highlight Saturday Night Live Cold Open

By Chris Ariens 

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If Friday night’s campaign 2016 bombshell hadn’t been dropped, Saturday Night Live would have opened with a plausibly funny sketch about the first and only VP debate. And that’s how it was looking last night as the show opened with Melissa Villaseñor playing the part of CBS’s Elaine Quijano: “I’m the new hispanic cast member,” Villasenor announced. “And tonight I’ll be playing Asian moderator Elaine Quijano, because, baby steps.”

But the debate was interrupted with breaking news as CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, played by Cecily Strong, interviews a contrite Donald Trump, played once again by Alec Baldwin, who found himself caught on a hot mic again, twice.

The 2016 campaign continues to drive the new season of SNL to viewer gains. In metered market ratings, which doesn’t yet count time-shifted viewing, last night’s episode hosted by Lin Manuel Miranda tied the show’s highest Week 2 rating in eight years. And that’s without including markets Charlotte, Orlando, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Raleigh-Durham and West Palm Beach because of Hurricane Matthew.

Last night’s show drew a 5.2 household rating, 13 share, tying the Oct. 1, 2011 show hosted by Melissa McCarthy. The Sept. 20, 2008 edition, in the final weeks of the Obama-McCain race, scored a 5.7 rating. Last week’s season premiere averaged a 5.8 rating, 15 share in metered-market households. Final national ratings will be out Tuesday. The show is up 25 percent vs. the Oct. 2015 average.