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One Direction, Paul Rudd and 'Anchorman 2' spur ratings success for 'SNL'

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On Dec. 7, boy band One Direction and Paul Rudd from “Anchorman 2” spurred ratings success for “Saturday Night Live.” As reported by TV By the Numbers on Dec. 8, the new episode pulled in an above average rating of 2.5 in adults 18-49, up five tenths over the last new “SNL” episode that starred Josh Hutcherson and Haim. It matched the show’s highest rating in metered-market households, which starred Justin Timberlake.

Paul Rudd stepped up to the plate for the third time to host “Saturday Night Live.” His very first TV role was in “Sisters,” where he played opposite Ashley Judd. His breakout role was in Cher’s 1995 hit comedy “Clueless.” Rudd will play Brian Fantana in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” which premieres nationwide on Dec. 18.

On Dec. 7, Rudd opened “Saturday Night Live” by saying that he was happy his musical guest wouldn’t overshadow him, like Beyonce and Paul McCartney did during his two previous hosting gigs. One Direction showed up on stage to steal his thunder, but Rudd brought out his big guns: Will Farrell, Steve Carell and David Koechner from “Anchorman 2.” “Why don’t you beat it, Menudo,” Ferrell stated. “Why don’t you kids go sit on Santa’s lap and ask for a pair of balls,” Carell added. “We are Nine Direction,” Rudd joked.

Other highlights of Rudd’s hosting gig included a revival of the classic Bill Brasky sketch (originally written by Ferrell), a take on “The Sound of Music Live,” a trailer for “White Christmas,” a Michelangelo skit, and a routine with Paul standing in line to see One Direction.

Reviews for Paul Rudd and One Direction have been mostly positive. Gwynne Watkins from “Rolling Stone” wrote:

The audience's palpable excitement over the boy band, plus the appearance Rudd's of 'Anchorman 2' co-stars Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Fred Armisen, David Koechner and Steve Carell, made this episode feel like a true event. And that's how it should be every week, isn't it?

One Direction is the teen group that made their first TV appearance on the UK version of “The X Factor.” Their two albums to date, “Up All Night” and “Take Me Home,” have sold over 32 million records worldwide and have achieved a total of 61 number ones. Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are now global sensations and they show no signs of slowing down. As of Dec. 9, the group has over 22 million Facebook fans and more than 16 million Twitter followers. On “SNL,” One Direction performed “Story of My Life” and “Through the Dark.” Head to SNL’s website for a repeat performance.

Concerning their “SNL” appearance, Hillary Busis from “Entertainment Weekly” wrote:

The charming, charismatic, boyishly handsome members of One Direction, a lad band with an army of teenage fans, have the power to make even curmudgeons admit that its songs are catchy.

A new episode of “SNL” airs on Dec. 14 on NBC with host John Goodman. The musical guest is Kings of Leon.

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