'Glee' ratings: Britney is bigger than Madonna

Brittany-Britney-Glee-thumb.jpg "Glee" recorded the second-largest total audience in its history Tuesday (Sept. 28) -- and may have given Britney Spears some bragging rights as well.

The show drew 13.5 million viewers to FOX Tuesday night, and it scored a 5.9 rating among adults 18-49 (the latter figure is an all-time high for the series). In both measures the show improved on its season premiere last week.

That's lovely, and surely making the people at FOX happy today. But after seeing the numbers this morning, it got us to wondering: How did Tuesday's Britney-centric episode stack up against past "Glee" episodes that focused primarily on the music of Madonna and Lady Gaga?

The answer, as you may have gathered from the superlatives in the paragraphs above, is: better. Here's numbers for Tuesday's episode, "Britney/Brittany," compare to last April's "The Power of Madonna" and last May's Gaga-focused "Theatricality":

"Britney/Brittany" (Sept. 28): 13.5 million viewers, 5.9 in adults 18-49
"The Power of Madonna" (April 20): 13 million, 5.3
"Theatricality" (May 25): 11.4 million, 4.8

("Glee's" most-watched episode is "Hell-O," which marked the show's return in April after a four-month hiatus and drew about 13.7 million viewers.)

So do Tuesday's ratings mean Britney Spears is now bigger than Madonna? Well, no, not by themselves anyway. For starters, Spears actually appeared in the episode dedicated to her, something Madonna and Lady Gaga didn't do. Time period, competition and any number of other factors also figure into ratings.

But Britney Spears can say she at least helped "Glee" get bigger ratings than either of her pop-star peers.

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Photo credit: FOX