27.8 million Americans tuned in last night to see Ashton Kutcher replace Charlie Sheen in sitcom Two and a Half Men, the show's greatest-ever ratings.
It comes after a controversial and publicly acrimonious split between Sheen and show creator Chuck Lorre that had seen the future of the long-running hit in jeopardy. But at this weekend's Emmy awards, Sheen seemed to make his first conciliatory statement by wishing the team luck with the new season.
CBS also premiered a brand new comedy right afterwards with 19.2m staying to watch Two Broke Girls. In comparison, the return earlier in the evening of How I Met Your Mother on the same channel scored 12.2m. ABC's Dancing with the Stars (the US equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing) got 18.6m and the network's crime drama Castle came back for a much-anticipated cliffhanger-resolving premiere that got 13.6m.
Last week, the Nielsen ratings company reported the highest-rated programme on American TV was NFL Thursday Night Football with 27.2m. The most-watched scripted programme last week was NCIS which came in tenth in the ratings with 9.5m.