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The 34th season premiere of Saturday Night Live with Michael Phelps as host scored the sketch comedy show's highest ratings since 2001 for a season opener.

And the 2001 show with Reese Witherspoon as host and Alicia Keys as musical guest was the highly-emotional premiere that marked the return of SNL after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York.

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NBC did indeed have one of the pop culture events of the TV season Saturday with Phelps and the return of SNL alum Tina Fey portraying GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to widespread acclaim.

And how about a little hometown mojo?

Just as it was during the Olympic games that Phelps so dominated, Baltimore was again the number one market Saturday night, clocking in with a 14.7 rating and 29 share. That means that about 30 percent of all homes in which TV's were being watched Saturday night in Baltimore were tuned to NBC and SNL. In raw numbers, that translate to about 150,000 TV home in the Baltimore area.

The audience estimates are preliminary overnight results from Nielsen based on meters in 55 cities excluding New Orleans, with Houston subject to revision as a result of Hurricane Ike.

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