Golden Globes ratings rise

robert-downey-jr-globes-320.jpgThe Golden Globe Awards grew for the second straight year, continuing the rebound from the strike-scuttled 2008 ceremony.

The Ricky Gervais-hosted awards drew 16.9 million viewers (based on time zone-adjusted ratings for the live broadcast) Sunday (Jan. 17), an improvement of 2 million viewers over last year's ceremony. "Avatar" and "The Hangover" won the two best-picture awards (drama and comedy), while "Glee" and "Mad Men" were named best comedy and drama on television.

The show's adults 18-49 numbers also grew, rising to a 5.4 rating from a 4.9 last year. NBC says the awards brought the network its biggest non-sports Sunday audience since the 2004 Golden Globes. (The 2006 and '07 Globes also outdrew Sunday's show, but those aired on Monday nights.)

The Globes continue a trend of improving ratings for awards shows. In the past few months the Primetime Emmys, the County Music Association Awards and the People's Choice Awards have all posted better numbers than the previous year.

Elsewhere on Sunday, FOX's action lineup of "Human Target" (10.1 million) and "24" (11.4 million) got off to decent starts opposite the Globes and an NFL playoff-fueled "60 Minutes" (16.7 million). "Human Target" will move to its regular time period on Wednesday, where it will get the benefit of an "American Idol" lead-in.

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Photo credit: NBC