America's enthusiasm for "Glee" only soared after the show's hiatus, with viewers coming back strong last night for the much-publicized return.
More than 13.6 million viewers tuned in, nearly double its usual audience.
It's especially impressive since the four-month layoff might have caused some of the show's impressive momentum to slow from the fall and force the cast to deal with dreaded expectations.
"Before we started shooting these, I was thinking wow, people have real expectations now," Kevin McHale tells PopcornBiz. But he says they quickly got over the pressure.
"The same energy is there and we're all just kids trying to make people cry every week," he says. They did just that, with Jane Lynch attracting particular attention with her version of Madonna's "Vogue"
Executive Producer Ryan Murphy told EW that the hiatus gamble paid off. There was so much attention around the return of the show that it vaulted to new heights.
“Everybody thought Fox was crazy to...pull it off the air for four months,” said Murphy. “They got a lot of criticism for it, but (the ratings) prove that it was a great plan. It really worked."
Rather than stall, the show just built on itself. "In those four months we won the Golden Globe and a Peabody," said Murphy. "And with the Oprah/White House effect, it became a perfect storm to get people really excited about the show.”