LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - High school musical comedy "Glee" nearly doubled its audience on its return to television after a four-month absence, drawing 13.7 million viewers, the Fox network said on Wednesday.
The award-winning series about a group of misfit students in a struggling competition choir saw its biggest audience ever Tuesday night, positioning the TV show for a move from cult fan status to mainstream hit.
Fox said that Tuesday's episode of "Glee" outperformed the prior season average for the show by 88 percent in total viewers, or 13.7 million people compared to 7.3 million.
"Glee", a quirky, larger-than-life comedy series that features its cast singing cover versions of pop, Broadway and rap songs, has already won Golden Globe, Peabody and Screen Actors Guild awards since its 2009 debut.
The show has been off the air since December 2009 to make way for the annual Fox ratings juggernaut "American Idol".
Two albums of "Glee" songs have hit music charts in the U.S., Australia, Ireland and the U.K., and more than 4.5 million songs from the show have been downloaded in the United States alone. Cast members will embark on a sold out U.S. concert tour in the summer.
Singing competition "American Idol" remains the most-watched U.S. TV show with an average audience in its current 9th season of 24.9 million viewers.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte