'SNL' 40th anniversary bash watched by 23 million

Mike Meyers as Wayne, and Dana Carvey as Garth during the Wayne's World skit on SNL, February 15, 2015.
Dana Edelson | NBC
Mike Meyers as Wayne, and Dana Carvey as Garth during the Wayne's World skit on SNL, February 15, 2015.

The Nielsen ratings company says NBC's "Saturday Night Live" 40th anniversary bash has drummed up a huge audience. Preliminary figures indicate Sunday's retrospective special was seen by 23.1 million viewers.

That makes it NBC's most-watched prime-time entertainment special since May 2004, when the network aired a "Friends" clips show the night of its series finale.

It's NBC's most-watched prime-time entertainment broadcast overall, excluding post-Super Bowl programs, since May 2004, for an episode of "ER" the night of the "Frasier" series finale.

The 3½-hour special looked back on the comedy series' four-decade run and featured more than 80 guest stars.

Nielsen says the preceding one-hour red carpet special was seen by 11.1 million viewers.

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