21/09/2011 05:27 BST | Updated 20/11/2011 05:12 GMT

27 Million Viewers Tune In For Ashton Kutcher's 'Two And A Half Men' Debut (VIDEO)

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Ashton Kutcher has bragging rights over Charlie Sheen after earning record viewing figures for Two and a Half Men.

Kutcher's debut in the CBS sitcom on Monday was seen by 27.7 million people.

The Nielsen company says that's more than any other episode in the first eight seasons, when Sheen was the star.

Sheen played ladies' man Charlie Harper on the US sitcom before being dismissed in March.

Kutcher has taken the new lead as Walden Schmidt, an Internet genius who is wealthy but unlucky in love.

After months of speculation, US viewers got to see how the winner finally ran out of luck.

In the opening scenes - set at Charlie's funeral, familiar bowling shirt hanging sadly by his coffin - full time neighbour and part-time stalker Rose explained how they'd run away to Paris, where Charlie had asked her to marry him. Despite this, she found him in the shower with another woman, which the next day led to an unfortunate 'slip' at the Metro into the path of an oncoming train, where Rose said his body "exploded like a balloon full of meat".

The sitcom's previous best viewing figures came in May 2005 following the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.