An average audience of 9.3m - peaking at 10.2m - watched the first live ‘Strictly’ of this series, compared to the 4.8m who tuned into its ITV rival.
That was down by 1.5m on the singing competition’s audience last week. This series’ launch show also had the lowest opening viewership - about six million - since 2004.
The figures don’t include those viewers who will watch both shows on catch-up, so are set to rise.
Strictly’s bumper two-and-a-half opening episode saw the likes of Alexandra Burke, Aston Merrygold, Debbie McGee and Ruth Langsford take to the dancefloor for the first time with their professional dance partners.
It was also the first time new head judge Shirley Ballas took her seat on the judging panel, following Len Goodman’s departure from the BBC dance show last year.
Shirley proved to be instant hit with viewers, who praised her constructive criticism.
Strictly’s newest recruit also had to deal with fellow judge Bruno Tonioli getting a little over-excited, when he ended up groping her as he gave contestant Alexandra Burke some feedback.
Meanwhile on the dancefloor, former JLS star Aston Merrygold is an early contender after blowing the judges away with his Foxtrot, earning him top billing on the ‘Strictly’ leaderboard with 31 points.
At the other end was ‘Loose Women’ presenter Ruth Langsford, whose waltz with partner Anton Du Beke was described as a “stumble-and-grab dance” by Craig and landed her at the bottom of the scoreboard.