Tina Fey for Vice President

Tina Fey’s “surprise” appearance on Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin drew huge ratings.

With CNN reporting Fey’s return as national news Friday, the tremendous buzz was reflected in the ratings. Early overnight figures showed the “Saturday Night Live” season premiere earned a 7.4 rating and 18 percent share of viewers watching at that hour – the highest for a season premiere since 2001, and the highest for any “SNL” telecast since Dec. 14, 2002, when Al Gore was host. The numbers were up 64 percent over last season’s premiere, according to Nielsen data.

I thought it was certainly the highlight of the night. My favorite line, on global warming, “I believe it’s just God huggin’ us closer.” Watch it below the jump.