Love him or hate him, you just can’t ignore him: Donald Trump’s guest turn as host on ‘Saturday Night Live’ over the weekend has helped the NBC show record its highest ratings in three years, with a whopping 6.6 household rating.

The billionaire real estate mogul-turned-Presidential hopeful appeared on the evergreen sketch show, an appearance that went ahead despite vociferous protests from minority ethnic groups and civil rights activists directed at the network in the week building up to it.

Donald TrumpDonald Trump's 'SNL' appearance was a success in the ratings

According to Entertainment Weekly, the controversial candidate delivered its highest ratings since 2012, when NBA Hall of Fame occupant Charles Barkley hosted. It was easily the best-rated episode in the current 41st season, 47% higher than the Miley Cyrus-hosted episode a few months ago – which featured Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, funnily enough.

It’s also significantly higher than the average 4.4 household rating that the season has received so far, despite the barracking that his appearance received from TV critics. When viewing figures are announced later this week, analysts believe that it could top 10 million.

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It was of course the second time that Trump has done the honours for ‘SNL’, with his previous appearance coming in 2004 when he still hosted ‘The Apprentice’.

He told the audience on Saturday that he wanted to show a different side of himself, one that could “take a joke”. It turned out that he had to, as at one point he was flanked by two comedians dressed as, and impersonating, him. He also performed a brief mock-up of the video to Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’.

The show was also disrupted by a heckler shouting “racist!” in accordance with a deal offered by immigrant rights group Deport Racism for $5,000 to anybody who did so during the show’s broadcast. That troublemaker turned out to be ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ writer and star Larry David.

Trump continues to lead the Republican Party’s nomination process, and he’s responsible for some massive ratings for the candidates’ debates this year. An August debate on Fox News received more than 24 million, and a CNN event the following month got a close 23 million.

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