Saturday Night Live Ratings Hit an All-Time Low Following BTS Performance

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Saturday Night Live ratings took a nosedive this past weekend, with a performance from BTS failing to connect with American viewers.

The hashtag #BTSxSNL was trending all Saturday in anticipation of the performance. Despite that, it didn’t translate to record-busting ratings, raising more questions about K-pop’s broader appeal in the U.S.

The SNL episode only averaged a 3.9 household rating in metered markets. What’s even worse is that it only measured 1.5 in the 18-49 age bracket that advertisers love.

Teen girls in the United States may love BTS, but SNL viewers do not.  Adding to the mismatch, BTS’ younger base is far less likely to care about live television — or even know how to access it.

The previous SNL episode, hosted by Kit Harington with Sara Bareilles as the musical guest, fared marginally better. But the BTS episode achieved a series low for both households and the 18-49 bracket.  Despite the low ratings, SNL was the top-rated show on Saturday night among the big four networks, perhaps raising a much bigger problem with the traditional TV format.

Coachella may have also impacted the viewership numbers.

However, it is not uncommon for SNL to see low ratings during this time of year.  But given the hype generated by fans online, the result is a downer for SNL producers.  The no-show raises the possibility that BTS’ popularity in America may be a flash in the pan, with finicky younger audiences eventually moving onto the next boy band.

The numbers suggest that BTS may already be past its prime in the U.S.  The K-pop group placed 7 tracks in the top 10 on iTunes last Friday, but they are mostly gone now.  Last August, the group claimed all 12 top spots on the U.S. iTunes chart with tracks from the Love Yourself album.

Incidentally, all 26 songs from the Love Yourself album featured in the top 50 when it debuted. This rapid success on the charts has prompted plenty of media outlets to highlight the craze, making it seem like K-pop is a huge media sensation. In reality, the genre still appears to be popular among a particular niche of fans.

Despite claims that a Korean invasion similar to the British invasion in the 60s is upon us, these SNL numbers may be proving otherwise.

32 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    SNL have made ongoing suicide with drunkard Alex making beyond stupid imposter games! Well deserved slide to oblivion for not so funny liberals.

  2. Ddaeng

    The rating system seems to be confusing. I was curious about the views on Youtube and found out the BTS’s videos are in their own league with 13 Millions and almost 7 Millions views respectively on SNL channel, while the previous show with Sara Bareilles’s videos have less than 250K at the moment.
    Furthermore, about them making the wave not just in the US, but globally, they just have been listed as one of the 100 Most Influential People on TIME. So, I have to disagree with you that they’re already past their prime, when they’re actually making their presence in the US now.

    • Eilo

      Oh btw Trump’s been on the cover of TIME as well. WTF CARES!

      • Samson

        Trump faked his Time cover, and in any case, fans have been following BTS b since 2013, we are used to the blind, xenophobic hate. Badly researched articles like these are fodder for us. BTS will continue to climb, they’ve sold over 10 STADIUM dates in America.

    • hafsa from pakistan

      exactly I was like what is this human being saying or writing

    • Been

      The age range for people who are regular viewers if SNL aren’t going to watch the show then get on youtube. You are talking apples and oranges. Youtube is going to be high for BTS because that’s partly where Army lives. I followed BTS for 5 years. Youtube views are nothing to brag about because they are manipulated. With your name from a BTS song, I’m sure you are well aware of the fake views of kpop. Watching a video again and again for a view count is a big part of kpop. It’s something I really hate in kpop and when US media and others brag about Youtube viewing records it’s embarassing. They actually believe that 100 million watched the video when its the fandoms watching again and again for a view count. The things Army would do to make BTS look popular is why I no longer follow BTS. Even now they announced BTS sold 1 million albums in the US. Before, that would make me really proud of BTS but I know for a fact Army repeat buy and all kinds of other things so I can’t even praise BTS because who knows what their real accomplishments are? So instead of worrying about them flopping on SNL you should be happy they are still doing good. BTS is not household. If average viewers and buyers liked them, they would’ve had a hit song on the Hot 100 already. Now they are num 5 with the help of Halsey. Even their English track couldn’t get them a high spot. Army should be thanking Halsey. She actually holds a record for being a artist with one of the longest records for the Hot 100. Instead of focusing on an SNL flop you should be happy media doesn’t really dig into kpop and start talking about all the fakeness of it. It wouldn’t just taint BTS it would stain all of kpop. This site has never liked BTS so all your posts won’t mean a thing to them.

      • Weird Flex But OK

        Imagine having the energy to write a whole ass paragraph and not actually making a point.

      • TrevorSiegmeyer

        Kpop fan for 10 years. Current BTS fan feel the same way. The youtube replay is toxic however it’s very important for their ranking in one of the music show in Korea. So you couldn’t blame them so much. BTS and Halsey have a sweet friendship, instead of their business, on the other hand. And yes BTS need to have a successful hit song to stay on Hot 100 for long time to prove their popularity. And that’s another level that I doubt they will achieve that. Otherwise they are still King of Kpop and not a major hit in the US.

        However, we don’t care that much about their popularity in the US to be honest. We are THE HIT boy band worldwide now and couldn’t care less about how far they can go next, if you understand me.

  3. Eilo

    K-Pop is flavour of the day soon to be eradicated…kinda what happens when you have a sugar rush and then crash. Just plain bad for the kiddies.

    • Eilo loser

      And one thing for sure, Eilo is a (no)body stuffed with hatred and arrogance. An ignorant who just likes to hate with passion, because they are unhappy with their own life. Just like the writer of this article.

    • hater alert

      I agree whats the point of spewing hate on something you have no idea on. it says more about you than bts.

    • Dragon

      Eilo’s girlfriend stans BTS and wishes he was even a tiny bit as fantastic as they are.
      Eilo doesn’t like this, so he trolls articles about the group.
      Eilo is pathetic.

  4. Nancy

    Hmm, I am a woman in her fortys that remembers when SNL was seriously funny. It had been a while since I had watch the show and I can tell you the only reason I tuned in was BECAUSE of BTS. My husband and I are fans of this band. Considering that young people are savvy digital consumers, add to that all the negativity from typical SNL viewers surrounding their appearance, and viola; I’m not surprised at all. My household had 5 people ranging from 21-45 watching the show. Folks tuned in but SNL writers have a long way to go before I consider returning as a viewer of their show. I’m also a cord-cutter so we watched over the air.

    • Anonymous

      The current SNL is bad, but the version before this one was one of the very best ever: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, Jason Sudekis,Bobby Moynihan, Fred Armisen, Seth Myers, Andy Samberg, Kenan Thompson. All incredibly funny and gifted people.

    • fuck american television and this author

      so true the writers had a shitty time writing this and they blame it on bts smh classic American behavior I hate it I hate it I hate those giving negative views

  5. Sarah

    We watched BTS SNL Youtube the next day. BTS is THE reason we watched SNL. they have millions of views on SNL Youtube. Pls don’t blame BTS for the bad rating. They save the show. Btw, I’m a 45 year old professional and I find BTS super talented.

  6. Eilo

    Quite simply I’m just JADED when it comes to popular music. I worked in the business, behind the scenes for a very long time. I’ve heard and seen many musical incarnations, 90% of which have all but been forgotten, deservedly so. That’s entertainment! And personally I can no longer watch an entire episode of SNL, that’s why I PVR. The Jimmy Kimmel Show impresses me, however when it comes to the musical appearances…10%, maybe.

  7. Tina

    I’m 43 years old and my household only watched SNL for BTS. SNL is not remotely funny. I highly doubt the reason for the low ratings has anything to do with those 7 men. In between waiting for BTS to perform, we were watching their other videos on You Tube, not even paying attention to the show. Their videos and music are much more entertaining than the so-called comedy sketches on SNL.

  8. Hi

    I’m Malaysian and my television don’t have any channel that shows snl, so to watch the show I have to wait the other day when snl upload the performance video to youtube

  9. Creacher

    I’ve watched snl for over 10 years, it’s been a couple that I’ve seen the content declining. This weekend I watched only bc of BTS. BTS has to counter with extreme xenophobia in today’s America, plus their songs are in Korean and for some reason Americans shy away from music that is not in “murican”, it will be difficult for any non murican speaking artist to chart in the us consistently. Also, both BTS performances were trending on YouTube, garnering more than 10 million views in one day, it’s been a while since an snl performance got this amount of views.

  10. Get Global

    Take it from someone who is thirty-seven years old – the teen girl fan narrative is annoying, a BTS fan, and a longtime SNL viewer. The points you make are silly, under-researched, and would not score well in a 100-level undergraduate journalism course.
    This article fails to mention the number of YouTube videos both BTS performances garnered for SNL’s YouTube channel. Perhaps reliance on traditional forms of broadcast is a nonsensical way to judge the highly digital nature of Kpop fandom.
    Also, discrediting BTS for having seven songs from their new album chart on the iTunes top ten, in comparison with other releases, is a moot point. Their latest release is a mini-album and only has seven songs on it. 100% indicates success. Well, at least it does for those of us who are able to back up our statements.

  11. Whatever

    I would even like their music, but their fans is just a turn off for me. I have seen an article, they closed down a radio station or something because they were airing a rival Korean group. That’s crazy and if you expect Americans to like Korean music you can’t expect them to like just one group, that is boring and isn’t going to last. Ten years from now no one but their fans will remember these guys existed.

    • Nonsense

      Why would you literally stop listening to a song because of their fans? Did you stop listening to Ariana or Beyonce or Lady Gaga or even the Beatles who also had screaming female fans?

      Why would you let them stop you from liking other groups? Do you go around twitter asking for permission to like other artists? Are you 11? Do you not have a mind of your own?

      Where did you get this “article” that a fandom can close down an entire radio station? If they weren’t so powerful how else can they even remotely manage to do that?

      Make it make sense.

      • HAHA -_- mistake

        THis is reply was meant for the comment above u…I hate technology..srry mate

    • HAHA -_-

      Your funny…are the Beatles remembered as legends and such? BTS just surpassed them…and many other “legends”…just watch in 10 years and laugh at your mistake


      Your funny…are the Beatles remembered as legends and such? BTS just surpassed them…and many other “legends”…just watch in 10 years and laugh at your mistake


      Your funny…are the Beatles remembered as legends and such? BTS just surpassed them…and many other “legends”…just watch in 10 years and laugh at your mistake….

  12. Funny

    Congratulations on attributing low ratings for someone who appeared less than ten minutes on the show compared to the entire shit that happened and I had to endure for the entire one and a half hours. Makes sense.

  13. Whalien52

    Meanwhile bts just became the group with continous third BB200 no.1 after THE BEATLES in 1996. We are also no.1 in UK album chart so it doesnt like we slowing down. ?

  14. jen

    why you don’t mention it is because of playoff and the bad skits? moving to the other band? are you joking?

  15. Listen...

    BTS fans aren’t just “teen girls”…they are the most diverse fandom from adults, elderly, elementary kids, all genders and you get the point. SNL as a whole has been losing is JAZZ for a while now, and BTS were on there for a little! THE SKITS WERE AWFUL! they really sucked…I think thats why

  16. Fan currently in the pan

    Im a new BTS fan who only a few months ago was sick of hearing about kpop and seeing it all the time. But I ran into the right stuff (blood sweat and tears) and got hooked on BTS. The writer seems to have done superficial research here. BTS has grown steadily, if you look at the data for how their albums have done over time, it was never an overnight thing. If they have peaked after this latest album, that wouldnt make them flash in the pan (most artists peak after a few years, Nirvana, The Doors, Bob dylan etc). And this whole teen girls love them, therefore they lack ethos/substance is so dumb. The same went for the Beatles, but while girls were attracted to them, they had guys following too. The same goes for BTS, girls love them but it isnt the only thing there. American audiences will also be less receptive to them, simply because of language barrier, (english songs are abundant) and cultural differences (my brother, now a BTS fan, first thought it seemed gay when he watched a mv, but Koreans have a different view of masculinity and friendship etc). New things take an open mind, and repeated exposure to get into. I listened to some of their music a few years ago and didnt like it, and I listened to/read lyrics of certain songs multiple times more recently before liking them and catching subtleties in concepts or lyrics. And eventually they will lose popularity like every single other artist, like the Beatles and Mozart. We all remember them and some of us still listen, but over time their biggest fans die and fewer modern people listen. This writer is rooting for their failure, and used opinion as a fill in for doing research. Not that this is anything surprising in media/journalism, but it just sucks that journalists are barely more informed than the typical person reading the article, or less so if the reader knows about the subject.