'Two And A Half Men' Premiere Scores 3 Million Viewers in Australia

 Danny Feld/CBS/Warner Bros.

SYDNEY -- Nearly 3 million Australians watched Ashton Kutcher join the Two And A Half Men cast Tuesday night here, vindicating the Nine Network’s decision to fast track the episode that went to air just 12 hours after it premiered in the U.S.

The massive audience – 2.3 million average viewers in the metropolitan markets and over 667,000 in the regional areas, gave the show, which has been regularly the number one sitcom here, its biggest ever audience in Australia and makes the program the highest-rated episode of a U.S. program in Australia since 2005.

It won the night in all demographics and is now the fifth-highest program for the year in the 25 – 54s and led Nine to a 36.2% share in 18-49s for the night.

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The new season premiere of Two And A Half Men marks the first of what will be an unprecedented number of U.S. programs from the fall season to be fast tracked to Australian screens, with the second and third-ranked networks Nine and Ten needing to build audience numbers ahead of the all important November ad rate negotiations, after a lackluster ratings year for both.

Wednesday night sees the season opener of Glee on Network Ten, just over 24 hours after its Fox premiere and Ten will debut Terra Nova on October 2.

Over at Nine in the next two weeks viewers will see Charlie's Angels, Persons of Interest, Unforgettable, Survivor: South Pacific, CSI and Prime Suspect all premiere here within days of their U.S. debuts.

Ratings analyst and media buyer Steve Allen of Fusion Strategy said this week that the volume of fast tracked programs being brought to Australia “are due to the extreme pressure Nine and Ten are under in the ratings game."

“Both are under extraordinary pressure to lift ratings before ‘upfront’ annual negotiations begin in November. If either face negotiations with present performance, their cash cow primary channels will be decimated or plundered,” he said.

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