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.
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).
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..
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).
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).
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).
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).