LOS ANGELES- Nearly 21 million people watched the 71st annual Golden Globes on US television, its best audience for a decade, according to ratings cited Monday by industry journal Variety.
The three-hour Sunday night telecast from Beverly Hills drew 20.9 million viewers, a six per cent increase from the 19.7 million who watched last year's show, according to the Nielsen ratings agency figures.
The number is the biggest audience for the Golden Globes since 2004, when "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" - the third part of Peter Jackson's epic trilogy - helped draw 26.8 million TV viewers to the show.
Industry watchers said it also reflected the popularity of TV comedy actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who co-hosted the Globes for the second time, and will do so again next year.
Before Fey and Poehler, the Globes was presented for three years in a row by edgy British comic Ricky Gervais, who was notorious for his close-to-the-bone jibes at celebrity members of the audience.
"Last night's show worked once again because of two hosts who know how to do TV, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler," wrote Time magazine's TV critic James Poniewozik.
Crime caper "American Hustle" was the big winner of the night Sunday, taking three Globes in the musical/drama categories: best film, best actress for Amy Adams and best supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence.
Harrowing historical drama "12 Years a Slave" won the coveted best drama prize, while Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto went home with the other acting prizes.