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James Hibberd
August 29, 2011 AT 09:33 PM EDT

Lady Gaga is going to have to host the show next year to top this. MTV’s annual Video Music Awards just scored its biggest audience ever last night — 12.4 million viewers.

Not only are those record-setting numbers for the VMAs, but last night’s show was also the most-watched single telecast in MTV’s history. The viewership is up 9 percent from last year’s show and stands as the most-watched non-sports cable telecast of the year (VMA winners and losers here).

UPDATE: Jersey Shore, which served as a lead in (recap here), netted a good — but not record setting — 8 million viewers. The pilot preview of I Want My Pants Back (exclusive trailer here) landed 5.1 million viewers after the show — though quite a drop off from the VMAs, that’s still a strong sampling for MTV, especially for a scripted show. The comedy is set to debut Jan. 2012.

Read more:

MTV VMAs 2011: Best/Worst Style

MTV VMAs 2011: Grading the Performances

MTV 2011 VMAs: Beyonce’s baby bump, the moving Amy Winehouse tribute, and other memorable moments

The MTV Video Music Awards was a conservative show, not a bad thing: A review

MTV 2011 VMAs: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adele big winners

Tyler, the Creator: Learn more about the potty-mouthed 2011 VMAs’ Best New Artist winner

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