Alynda Wheat
September 14, 2009 AT 10:53 PM EDT

Some 9 million viewers tuned in to MTV on Sunday to watch the Video Music Awards, the cable network said in a press release issued today.  The figure is up six percent over last year, and the highest viewership for the awards show since 2004. Factoring in other channels airing the show—MTV2 and VH1—viewership climbs to nearly 27 million people who watched Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé on a night of controversy, a 17 percent increase over 2008 numbers.

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