Two and a Half Men

How curious were people about Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men? Some 27.76 million people tuned in — numbers that rival American Idol. On cable, Sheen set a ratings record of his own.

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On the first official Monday of the 2011-12 TV season, the sitcom's Season 9 premiere snared a 10.3 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds — the highest ever for the program, and more than double that of Season 8's first episode. It's also the most-watched scripted debut since Desperate Housewives' second season start (which drew 28.36 million in September 2005).

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Comedy Central reported later Tuesday that some 6.4 million watched its Roast of Sheen, featuring Seth MacFarlane, William Shatner and Kate Walsh. It was the cable network's highest-rated roast in the history of the franchise — and second overall only to Jeff Dunham's holiday special three years ago..

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Drafting behind Men at 9:30/8:30 on Monday, the series debut of 2 Broke Girls was seen by 19.15 million (7.0 demo rating). Not only was that way more than time-slot predecessor Mike & Molly, it's the biggest autumn start for a sitcom since Inside Schwartz a decade ago (though that NBC show wound up bombing halfway through one season).

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The two-hour, 13th season premiere of the irrepressible Dancing With the Stars entertained 18.57 million (3.9 demo rating, down 24 percent from last fall and its lowest-rated start of all time) — far outpacing the return of surprise spring hit The Sing-Off, which managed to average just 5.20 million (1.9). And in the same 8-10 p.m. time slot, the championship finale of Hell's Kitchen lured 5.87 million (2.6).

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In the first hour of prime time, the back-to-back episodes that kicked off Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother pulled in 11.75 million fans (4.9 demo rating — an increase of 30-plus percent compared with a year earlier).

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In prime time's final hour, the debut of NBC's The Playboy Club failed to attract many potential members — just 5 million and a 1.7 demo rating. With numbers like that (worse than last year's Chase) the Club is likely to be shuttered. ABC's surging Castle won the slot with 13.60 million viewers — a big jump from last year's 11.2 million — and 3.3 demo rating (up about 15 percent) over CBS' sophomore reboot of Hawaii Five-0 with 11.99 million and 3.4 (down about 10 percent).