The 54th Annual Grammy Awards scored its second-highest ratings ever Sunday as the music industry paid tribute to Whitney Houston, while the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead scared up big numbers as well.
Check out the Grammys fashion hits and misses
The three-and-a-half-hour broadcast nearly doubled last year's viewership with a staggering 39 million viewers — second only to the 51 million who tuned in to the 1984 telecast, during which Michael Jackson won a record eight awards.
Compared to last year's ceremony, the show was up 40 percent in the adults 18-to-49 demo, nabbing a 14.1. The rating is the highest since 1990, when Milli Vanilli won Best New Artist (which was later revoked).
Grammys: The best and worst performances
The surge is likely due to Houston's unexpected death on Saturday. During the show, Jennifer Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You" in the six-time Grammy winner's honor.
On cable, The Walking Dead's winter premiere drew 8.1 million viewers — up from the 7.3 million who watched the fall opener. It also scored 5.4 million viewers in the demo and 4.4 million viewers in the adults 25-to-54 demo, making it the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history.
The series premiere of Kevin Smith's Comic Book Men followed the zombie hit with 2 million viewers and a 1.3 rating.
CBS: 54th Annual Grammy Awards 39 million viewers (14.1 demo rating) [8-11:30 p.m.]
ABC: Once Upon a Time 8.64 million viewers (3.0)
Fox: The Simpsons 4.3 million viewers (2.0); Napoleon Dynamite 3.8 million viewers (1.7)
NBC: Dateline 2.05 million (1.6) [7-9 p.m.]
ABC: Desperate Housewives 6.3 million viewers (1.7)
Fox: Family Guy 5 million viewers (2.5); American Dad! 3.5 million viewers (1.7)
NBC: Fear Factor 3.7 million viewers (1.5) [9-11 p.m.]
ABC: Pan Am 2.7 million (0.7)