Monday night's premiere of Two and A Half Men landed CBS a record audience of 27.7 million, according to a Nielsen figure obtained by Reuters.
Season nine kicked off with plenty of action, included the much-anticipated adieu to Charlie Harper, Charlie Sheen's character, who died after being hit by an oncoming train in France.
I just want you all to know that Charlie didn't suffer, Rose says at the funeral service. His body just exploded like a balloon full of meat.
Ashton Kutcher's character, millionaire Walden Schmidt, debuted in his own magnificent style, including a scene in which he walks around naked before telling Alan (Jon Cryer) that he'll buy the beach house.
The episode, appropriately titled Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt, also welcomed a slew of guest stars, including John Stamos, Jenna Elfman, Jenyn McCarthy and Jeri Ryan.
While Two and A Half Men won its half-hour time slot Monday night, ABC topped the night's overall viewership thanks to the two-hour season premiere of Dancing with the Stars, which saw the likes of Chaz Bono and Elisabetta Canalis strut their stuff in front of a star-studded audience.
The new season of Two and a Half Men arrives on the same week that Sheen and Warner Bros. are negotiating a multimillion-dollar settlement, which is estimated to be worth up to $25 million, a source told the Los Angeles Times.
In January, Sheen took part in a series of bizarre events, including a brief rehab stint, his Torpedo of Truth tour, Twitter rants and comments about Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre. Sheen, who was eventually fired from the show, was officially replaced by Kutcher when CBS announced the new hire in May.
With only one episode in, Kutcher has been receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of a rich womanizer and recent divorcee.
Kutcher's performance was good, nearly as poker-faced fine as Sheen's was, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Kutcher brings a softness as well as a sense of rude health - his presence might allow Cryer to play some sweeter, less strident notes, though it is up to Lorre, of course, to make that or let that happen, wrote a critic for the Los Angeles Times.
The next episode of Two and A Half Men airs on Sept. 26 on CBS.