Grammy winners include CBS; telecast brings best rating in years

Singer Rihanna performs onstage at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards held at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. Pictures: Grammys 2012 red carpetPictures: Grammys 2012 press roomSpecial Section: The 2012 Grammys
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Rihanna performs onstage at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - There were a lot winners at Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, and one of them was CBS, which aired the live telecast.

The Grammy broadcast hit all the high notes, delivering the network its largest audience since 1984 and beating last year's viewership by 50 percent.

Pictures: Grammy Awards red carpet arrivals
Pictures: Highlights from the ceremony
Pictures: Stars in the press room
Special Section: The 2012 Grammys

More than 39.9 million viewers flocked to the broadcast, making it the second most-watched Grammys in history, according to preliminary Nielsen Co. figures released Monday. That exceeds last year's Oscars broadcast, which was seen by 37.6 million viewers.

Helping stoke interest in this year's Grammys broadcast was recording sensation Adele, who emerged as the night's big winner with six trophies and who performed for the first time since undergoing surgery on her vocal cords.

Her album, "21,'' was by far the year's best seller and one of its most critically acclaimed.

But the broadcast was an attention-getter not only for the awards dispensed but also for its role as a memorial to Whitney Houston, a six-time past winner. Jennifer Hudson performed a tribute to Houston and many of the night's stars mentioned her in their speeches.

The superstar singer died unexpectedly Saturday, just hours before she was supposed to appear at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy gala.