The retooled “Two and a Half Men” got record ratings Monday — some pro-football, “American Idol” level numbers for the first episode minus Charlie Sheen and with Ashton Kutcher.
Some 27.7 million in fact.
That’s a headspinning number, but let’s not jump to conclusions. It doesn’t mean everybody prefers Kutcher to Sheen, who never quite managed that level of popularity (though the show has been the No. 1 comedy for several years running). There were likely just a whole lot of curiosity seekers out there to see what the hubbub was about. Future weeks will be better indicators.
And don’t discount Sheen altogether. His raucous roast on Comedy Central drew 6.4 million, record numbers on that cable network as well and about twice of what a usual cable roast draws.
That means it also outdrew one of the widely-hyped new broadcast dramas of the evening, “The Playboy Club” on NBC, which only manged to attract 5 million. That followed a two hour first fall premiere of “The Sing-Off” that didn’t do much better, drawing 5.2 million.
Of course, it was playing against ratings giant “Dancing with the Stars,” which drew 18.6 million in its premiere Monday. Good numbers, but down by almost a quarter from the fall premiere numbers a year ago.
The CBS comedies surrounding “Two and a Half Men” did well too, meaning that the new comedy that also has the same number in the title, “2 Broke Girls” with a hefty 19.1 viewers was the best sampled new network comedy in a decade.
A pair of season premiere episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” didn’t do too badly, either, with 11.3 million watching the first and 12.2 million watching the second (or warming up the set for Kutcher).
So how did everything else do? The return of “Castle” beat everything at 10 p.m. with 13.6 million viewers to “Hawaii Five-0”s 12 million; the two hour “Hell’s Kitchen Finale,” amid all the competition, did 5.8 million (and its winner was Paul Niedermann from Davie, Fla).